Business development 13 December 2017

How to switch off and still run a business at Christmas

Decide what needs to be ticked off your to-do list and what can be done later

It is possible to run a business at Christmas and still enjoy the break. Here, content executive at Brighter Business, Conor McArdle, provides some business planning tips this holiday season.

The festive season is well underway, and we’re all looking forward to some much-deserved time off – at least, that’s the plan.

Taking periodic time-out is incredibly important, not just for some well-deserved rest, but also to gain some breathing space to reflect on your year’s performance. However, that’s easier said than done when you’re a one-man band or a micro business owner.

Not taking downtime can lead to burnout, and the last thing you want is for your business (or family and friends) to suffer because you didn’t account for some personal time.

Read more: How to pull off the perfect office Christmas party

With adequate planning, you can run a business at Christmas and enjoy the time off without feeling guilty or causing yourself too much seasonal woe.


If business risks getting in the way of your festive break, try to shift it forward where possible. This means gauging how important your work is – is this is a project that must be completed before the year is through, or could it do just as well if you planned to look at it in January?

When you have a small team, time is valuable. At least a week before your peak period of business, decide what absolutely needs to be ticked off your list and what can be handled later.

Make everyone in your team aware of what these priorities are so you’re working towards a unified goal. Giving yourself time to consider these things will save a frantic rush to wrap everything up by Christmas eve.

Decide your Christmas opening hours and shout them from the rooftops

Whether you work with customers and the public or not, when you run a business at Christmas decide what your opening hours will be as soon as you possibly can, and then stick to them.

Communicate them via every communication channel you have – on social media channels, in a shop window, add them to your email signature, over the phone, and so on.

Not only will this keep your clientele as well informed as possible but it will psychologically prepare you and your team to gear up for an end of year shut-down.

Remember your team members

No matter how small your tem, when you run a business at Christmas, a little effort can go a long way to boost morale in a busy season. Remember that staff need a break too – these tips are as much to benefit them as they are to benefit you, the owner.

Read more: Will you be working on Christmas and New Year’s Day?

If you have employees who could want annual leave on seasonal days when your business is open, try to coordinate time-off early so everyone gets their fair break with advanced notice.

If you find that your team is stretched, consider a gesture to say thank you and spread some festive good will. This could be something small – a personal gift – or a bigger effort that will help bring your team together.

Shut down some channels (temporarily)

Having publicly communicated that your business will be shut, you need to set boundaries with the other channels that are less easy to leave you alone.

Give yourself a chance to decompress over the holidays. If you absolutely have to run a business at Christmas by keeping an eye on digital channels like email and social media, make sure you don’t get glued to them.

Try limiting yourself to a window to check and chase things (for example, 7am-9am) and then give yourself the rest of the day free of distractions.

On your official time off, make sure you set a precedent and only respond to the most urgent of queries or requests. Your emails will still be in your inbox come 2 January, and you can revert back to work mode then.

It’s your holiday too

Whether you get a little or a lot of time off, enjoy it. You’ve put a lot of effort into supporting your customers, suppliers and potential team members, so it’s time to turn the focus to yourself. The daily grind will start up again soon enough, so enjoy your heard-earned time off.

Conor McArdle, is content executive at Brighter Business

Read more: Beating the Christmas cash flow blues

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