Christmas Office Housekeeping

We’re on the home run now to Christmas and it seems that it’s some sort of magical cut-off date for a lot of work to be completed, and our stress levels rise when demands are made of us. If you don’t have enough time to complete everything, just keep in mind that this happens each year so it’s a normal desire from people to want to have their task finalised prior to what is, for many, the start of a long break.

To deal with the rush and the pressure on your time, prioritise tasks in order of urgency and manage the expectations of stakeholders around the ones which will take longer to complete. Then work on the high priority list and once they’ve all been completed move to the next most pressing ones and follow the list downward

This will mean that your days are more structured and ordered, and you’ll accomplish more – you’ll also feel more in control and calmer, and that’s a good thing!

There will be a large number of offices closing for at least the days between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day so this is the time to look at your plan over the break – the last thing our clients want are surprises – this also applies if you’re keeping the office open during the period as there are also public holidays to consider.

The biggest challenge is any setting is to manage client expectations over this time and the first piece of advice I give my consulting clients this time of year is to write to each landlord and tenant well in advance of the break and advise them that your office will be shutting for whatever period you’ve chosen to close for, and tell them very clearly what the arrangements will be in regard to payment of rent, urgent and routine maintenance reporting and other contact with staff over the time.

Also advise your trades of your hours of operation and the procedures to follow for any urgent maintenance; and let your office cleaners know of any reduction in requirements so that you’re not paying for a service you’re not fully using too.

Make sure that your emails have advance notice on them of your hours so that as many people as possible are made aware that you’re going to be unavailable during this time, and have a notice on your website with your operational hours over the break, and wishing people well for Christmas and the New Year

Get to the post office (or do it online) and arrange for your mail to be held over the break, nothing says “unoccupied office” like a pile of mail under the door and doing this will mitigate the risk of any unwelcome visitors over that time

While we’re on the subject of office security, make sure that your security firm is advised that you’re closed over the break, and that you’ve got suitable arrangements in place with them in the event that someone needs a point of contact.

On the day you close the office, there’s some last-minute communication pieces to put into place amidst all the celebration; change all the voicemails on mobiles and office lines to advise of the closure then make sure that all staff email addresses are set up with auto-responder noting the dates and times that the office is closed.

Then – please – clear out the fridge. Any perishables should be either taken home or binned; no one wants to walk in on that first day back and find someone’s forgotten lunch looking back at them from the innards of the refrigerator; and make sure the bins are emptied too, for the same reason.

Have a fabulous festive season, my thanks to you all for your support, friendship and encouragement during the year, I look forward to seeing you all in what I hope is a fantastic 2023 for us all!