The time between Christmas and New Year’s Day is an ideal opportunity to take a break and close the office down for a few days. This gives both you and your team some valuable downtime to relax and enjoy the fruits of all the hard effort you’ve put in throughout the year.
Yes, I appreciate that this often sounds easier than it might be in reality, however there are a few tricks to help pass that message on to your clients.
Notify in advance
I always recommend that you give plenty of notice. You have an email list with all your customers on it, right? Email clients with active projects now, letting them know that you’ll be closed over Christmas. Encourage them to provide everything they need, in order to wrap up the job, or alternatively, ensure you have enough leeway in that project’s plan to allow a week’s delay.
Plan for emergencies
Reassure your customers about how you will deal with any emergencies. A client’s first thought will often be “what happens if my web site goes down?” In the same office closure notice from above, always explain that someone will be keeping an eye on the web servers, just in case.
That’s assuming, of course, you’ve delegated that to one of your team.
Encourage your clients to also take the time off. People burn out — it’s a fact. We all need a break once in a while to perform at our best. Not only will your clients be refreshed, they can’t criticise you for doing the same!
Point out that this is the only office closure each year — assuming that’s the case, of course. Most offices, you’ll find, only ever close down during the Christmas period. Point out that as hard working people, everyone sometimes will need a break, and this is the perfect time to do that.
Yes, I know that Easter also consists of a couple of public holidays, yet those eight or so days over Christmas and New Year’s Day are a fantastic chance to really unwind.
Remind your clients closer to the date again. People forget, things change, and although six weeks out is a great forewarning, you need to follow this up again. I suggest about a week before closing, send out an email to say Merry Christmas, and let them know your official closing and opening hours.
Provide any emergency numbers they may need as well, however I’m a big believer in just diverting the office number, if you can manage it.
This year, for example, Christmas falls on a Thursday. My business is closing shop entirely from that day through to January 4th, making a total of eleven days off from work! This equates to only four actual business days, taking out weekends, and public holidays in Australia. Our clients won’t even notice, but my staff and their families who really need a break, sure will!
The original version of this post first appeared as part of the SitePoint Tribune, a very popular email newsletter that I was once the co-editor of. Thanks to SitePoint for allowing me to reproduce the work here.