Contracting Life

How to close down your limited company for Christmas

Let’s be honest, one of the best perks of being self-employed is not having to be answerable to anyone over…

Author Photo by Kingsbridge

Let’s be honest, one of the best perks of being self-employed is not having to be answerable to anyone over what time you take off. While some organisations do shut down completely over Christmas, at this time of year many employees are arguing over who gets which days off while employers try to ensure key dates are covered.

You, as a contractor, don’t have to deal with any of this. You can just decide you’re off for however many days you want and go for it. You’re only answerable to you. So if you want to down tools for the entirely of Christmas and spend it eating turkey sandwiches and playing with your children’s new train set, and disagreeing over the rules of board games, then that’s up to you.

But how do you shut down for Christmas while still keeping things professional? After all, you don’t want to just disappear as far as your clients are concerned. We’ve chatted to some of the contractors we work with to get their ideas. Here are some of their tips.

Book holidays in with yourself

As we’ve already mentioned, you don’t have to fight with anyone over which days you take off so,all you have to do is agree on it with yourself. You may only want to take off the days between Christmas and New Year, or you may want to take off everything from 20th December until 6th January to tie in with children’s school holidays.

It’s up to you. Whatever you choose to do though, block it out in your calendar. This way you a) know what to tell clients regarding availability, and b) you aren’t tempted to do a bit of extra work when you’re meant to be off.

Give plenty of warning

It’s important that you let any active clients know about your availability over Christmas. You don’t need to ask their permission to be off, but you do need to manage their expectations regarding your work. This is worth doing as early as possible in December so that you can avoid any last-minute requests, and so that they know that after a certain point they won’t be receiving work from you until you’re back.

A reminder closer to Christmas can’t hurt either. An email wishing your client a merry Christmas and reminding them of the dates you’ll be off is a good way to do it.

Get work finished in advance

Nothing gets in the way of enjoyable time off like the spectre of unfinished work looming over you. Plan your weeks leading up to your Christmas break so that you can finish up outstanding tasks. It also helps to put in a clear cut-off point.

This means that if you finish a day earlier than anticipated (always the dream) then you won’t start a new task that you won’t be able to finish before you crack open the selection boxes.

Basically, put yourself in a position where, when you return to work, you’re picking up all-new tasks, not struggling to finish something off.

Use downtime before Christmas wisely

If you do get your major project tasks finished and have a bit of quiet time before your break officially starts, you could always use that time to plan for the new year. Tasks that are useful at this time include:

– Setting up your January to-do list

– Filling in your 2022 diary and/or calendar

– Filing any paperwork

– Making sure your accounts are up to date

No big tasks, that can’t be completed in the time available, but ones that will save you time at the start of the new year. Perfect.

Get that out of office reply scheduled

You’ll have already let your clients know you’re going to be off, but you don’t want to be having to reply to administrative emails or new business enquiries while you’re enjoying your festive family time. The best way to mitigate this is to set up an out of office reply letting anyone emailing you know that you’re off and the date that you’ll be back.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be a completely dry email if you don’t want it to be. If it feels on-brand to you to make it a bit Christmassy, maybe with a cracker of a pun (ahem!) or two, then go for it.

When you’re scheduling your out of office, it can also be useful to pop posts on your social media outlets that you’ll be taking time off so that all bases are covered.

It takes a bit of organisation but that’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy some well-earned time off with loved ones this Christmas – especially after the Christmas we all had last year. So, kick back, relax, and enjoy a very merry Christmas – from all of us here at Kingsbridge.

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