How to close down your business ready for the Christmas period
One of the reasons why many professionals make the switch to self-employment is to be able to choose their own hours, and at no time of year does this become more apparent than Christmas. Rather than fighting for days off with others in the office, complaining that Linda from Accounts had Christmas Eve off last year as well, and hoping you don’t have to come in first day back after Boxing Day, contractors have the luxury of just, well, not working.
But with clients not necessarily taking time off themselves, or not realising that you might be taking time off, how do you close down your contracting business for the Christmas period? The Kingsbridge team has asked around and we have some top tips.
Advertise your availability to clients
As Christmas approaches, drop your clients an email to let them know your Christmas downtime: what day you finish, and what day you plan to be back at your desk. This is a good opportunity to ask them if there’s anything they need from you before you finish so as to make sure nothing gets overlooked.
If you want, you could also put your Christmas availability in your email signature. This is a good idea if you work with larger organisations, where you’re not necessarily going to be able to communicate your downtime to everyone who might need to know.
Use your out of office
It might sound straightforward, but remember to turn on or schedule your out of office replies. Remember to say when you’ll be back to work and, if you don’t plan on working at all, add that you’ll have no access to emails or something to that effect, so people don’t expect a reply before that date.
If your role means you would need to be contacted in an urgent situation (e.g., an IT system you’ve developed for a client goes down) then you may wish to include the best way of contacting you in an emergency, whether that’s by phone, text or WhatsApp.
And just because it’s an out of office reply it doesn’t mean that it can’t be friendly. It’s fine to add a line wishing people a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Update your social media
If you use social media accounts for your business, it can be a good idea to schedule a post for your last working day. This could be something along the lines of: “That’s it from me until 4th January 2021. Wishing all my clients a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” If you’ll have other scheduled posts going out over Christmas, you could pin it to the top of your feed to make sure it’s visible.
A photo of you in full Santa suit while eating a mince pie is optional, but we really hope you include it. It’s really just to let people know, rather than being anything too formal.
Tie up loose ends
There is nothing more annoying than coming back to work after Christmas just to have to finish off bits of projects that have been left dangling since December. It can also really ruin your time off if a little voice in the back of your mind is telling you that you have work to finish.
If you have any snaggly pieces of work that need finishing off, do them before you finish for the festive season, even if it means pulling a couple of longer days to get them sorted. This means in January you can come back to work with a clean slate, ready for a completely fresh start to the new year.
Get yourself organised
If you’ve got a few quiet days before you down tools completely, take the time to get yourself organised for January. Get any paperwork filed, tidy up your office, update your accounts, get your business insurance in order and do anything else you might need to do to get yourself ready for the new year ahead.
It could also be a good time to start your to-do list for January, so that you know what you need to get on with on your first day back. Even if that particular task is “check 7,491 unread emails”.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to have a restful week or two off over Christmas to spend with family and see the back of what has been a challenging year to say the least. Enjoy every last minute – you thoroughly deserve it. Now, where did we put those mince pies…?