The holiday season is imminent so it's now time to ensure that if and when you plan to take some well-overdue downtime, your business isn’t exposed as a result. We've compiled the following checklist to help you plan for a break without carrying that extra burden of worrying about what's happening in your absence.
Check that all necessary business insurances are in place and paid up to date.
If shutting down completely, ensure you discuss this with key clients, suppliers, and other stakeholders so as to manage their expectations.
Encourage all staff to do a “walk around” in the week before shutdown to identify considerations.
Ensure sufficient cash is on hand to cover commitments and that signatories are available on key dates to authorise payments – i.e., payroll, supplier, IRD taxes.
If relying on skeleton staff to keep things ticking over, ensure they can cover critical business operations and planned holiday period workload.
Ensure that the rest of your senior staff (other than you) are assigned responsibilities and are capable of making decisions in your absence if needed.
From a Facilities perspective:
Back up all computers and information.
Turn off all unnecessary work equipment.
Test fire alarms and equipment and replace batteries (if necessary).
Check to ensure all security systems are working.
Consider putting lights on a timer at night to suggest people are inside.
Shut and lock all windows, empty all bins, and water all plants.
From an Operational perspective:
Make sure your clients and suppliers know of your closure (email them).
Send out or pay any outstanding invoices.
Inform your landlord (if applicable) and security firm about your planned closure.
Notify office cleaners of your closedown dates and that a lower level of service is required over the shut-down.
Get all staff with email and mobile phones to set up out-of-office messages.
Reschedule or cancel any incoming recurring deliveries or services (e.g., regular supplier packages such as café supplies, and stationery)
From an Employee perspective:
Tell your employees well in advance that you plan to close down all or part of your business.
Assign responsibility to trusted employee(s) to secure facilities on the final day.
Better to be prepared for closure than have the unenviable task of cleaning up on your return, or even worse, having your holiday shortened unnecessarily.