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Is It Ever Too Early to Plan for the Holidays at Work? | Staples | Business Hub |®

Is It Ever Too Early to Plan for the Holidays at Work?

Planning for the holidays at work involves more than coming up with fun work holiday party ideas. You need to arrange for staffing coverage as employees request time off, adjust to the holiday workload, plan how you’re going to recognize customers, and then create a post-holiday recovery plan. With all these tasks in mind, it's never too early to start working on your holiday plan.

Holiday Scheduling & Planning

From late October through early January, there’s a lot that can mess with employees’ work schedules. Time off requests are likely to increase as employees plan to celebrate, attend events and spend time with friends and family. Business owners and managers should think about holiday time off in advance. Make sure your paid time off policies are fair for your employees, while also allowing you to control productivity; whether you use first-come-first-serve or tenure for time-off approvals, keep it consistent throughout the year. Chances are good you'll have to say no to someone to keep your business covered.

It's important to look at trends from previous years to understand how many employees you need to cover phone calls, orders or other demands during the holiday season. Retail organizations are likely to see peak business during the holidays, while other types of companies could see a drop in customers. Leaders must know whether to staff up or down, and you should have a plan in place before the holidays begin.

Thank Your Customers

The holiday is a great time to recognize your customers and thank them for doing business with you. To send corporate holiday cards, you need to ensure you have the appropriate addresses, make time to order printed cards and take care to personalize the cards and then mail them in advance of the holidays. If you plan to send food baskets or other gifts to customers, be sure to set aside a budget for this expense and order well in advance of when you would like delivery.

Workplace Celebrations

Spending the holidays at work may be disappointing for some employees. Keep up morale throughout the season by allowing appropriate celebration. Begin planning employee events 6 to 12 months before the season so you can book catering, venues and vendors. Consider footing the bill for work holiday parties as a way to show appreciation for staff. Schedule the party early in December and send invitations four to six weeks in advance to give employees time to manage their own hectic holiday schedules. Other ways to celebrate the holidays at work include allowing teams to plan their own potluck luncheons, giving bonuses or gifts to employees, offering treats and baked goods on Fridays, and allowing employees to decorate their spaces. Planning a year ahead for holiday spending will allow you to budget appropriately.

Planning ahead means you understand the financial and time resources required for holiday events, gift giving and scheduling. Get your staff involved in brainstorming work holiday party ideas and developing plans to cover schedules. When team members are allowed to participate in planning, they're more likely to come up with creative solutions to holiday challenges. Finally, make sure you have a plan for getting everyone back on track after the holiday is over.

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