The holiday season is supposed to be a time when you can kick back, relax and be merry. However, if you are a business owner, you may scoff and think – ‘yeah right’.

The holiday season is often a stressful time for business owners. Your staff are absent on annual leave, your suppliers have erratic working hours, yet your clients and customers still make demands of you. And there you are in the middle of it all, trying to get everything done with limited time and resources. The result? More stress, more worry, and a feeling that it might be better to cancel Christmas and work through instead.

But before you go full Scrooge, we want to tell you something – there are ways to manage your business during the holiday season to ensure you get a stress-free break. Here’s how.

Managing your business during the holiday season

  1. Automate where possible

Have a think about your daily tasks and explore what can be automated. This works particularly well for marketing initiatives, as most content management systems allow you to select a publish date. This means you can upload content now (be it blog posts, social media posts, promotional deals or newsletters) and release it over the holiday season. And hey presto, you haven’t let up on your marketing, even though you are sat at home supping on a mulled wine.

  1. Carefully craft your out of office

An out of office is usually nothing more than a one-line notification to say you are absent from work and will be returning on a certain date. This time, include more detail. Remember, people are usually after some kind of information when they send an email. If this information can be found elsewhere, such as on your website, then include a link and direct them there. This will allow you to answer people’s questions without actually hitting the reply button.

  1. Use a virtual assistant

If the thought of leaving your emails unattended for any length of time gives you the cold sweats, have you considered using a virtual assistant? A virtual assistant is pretty much as the name implies – they help with the administrative tasks of your business while working remotely. This doesn’t have to be limited to answering emails. You might also want to hand over other duties, such bookkeeping, data entry, social media, scheduling and travel arrangements.

  1. Plan your diary

Take a look at your diary and see what you have planned for the two days prior to your Christmas holiday, and your first two days back in the office. If you have any meetings or appointments booked, move them. By keeping this time clear, you give yourself something breathing space to finish any last pieces of work, catch-up on emails and generally get on top of things.

  1. Manage your clients’ expectations

Lastly, manage the expectations of your customers and clients. Tell them you are taking a break and that you will not be responding to emails or phone calls. Sometimes this can be hard for others to fathom, especially if they are paying for your services. But if you make them aware of your absence well in advance, it will limit any potential misunderstandings.

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Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season