At this time of year it is really handy to have a ‘to do’ list to ensure you don’t forget to do anything important, like tell people when your business will be closed. Even the main man, Santa, uses one according to the song; “he’s making a list, he’s checking it twice…”
So what sort of things should a business owner consider in the run up to Christmas?
- Office Opening Hours
You will need to notify staff, clients, suppliers, cleaners et al. of your office opening hours during the festive period. Most businesses do this internally by issuing an email to staff and externally by amending their correspondence footers. Make sure though, that you check the T&Cs of your contracts with suppliers etc. to ensure you adhere to any agreement you have signed.
- Office Christmas Party
If you are going to provide your staff with an office Christmas party you will need to be aware of the obligations on you as an employer. To read more about this please have a look at our previous blog.
- Public Holidays
Ensure employees are aware of their status over paid or unpaid leave on public holiday so there is no confusion, especially if your business is open during these times.
- Pay Rate
There may need to be clarification on pay rates during the festive period. For example, is pay doubled on certain days such as Christmas Day, or does it stay the same?
- Pay Day
Most businesses pay their staff on the 25th, 28th or the last working day of the month but this often proves to be inconvenient not only for your staff, but also for your accounts department. Therefore some firms bring their payday forward to avoid any unnecessary issues before Christmas. If you intend on changing the usual date of your staff’s pay day you will need to notify them of the proposed new date in advance, so that they are aware that they will have longer to wait for their next pay day at the end of January.
- Staffing levels
Depending on your company’s policy in regards to time off over Christmas you may find yourself dealing with a large amount of holiday requests. It is paramount that you ensure there are enough staff available during the holiday period to ‘man the desks’ – usually referred to as the Skeleton Crew. These people tend to be those who have no holidays left, weren’t quick enough off the mark to book the time off or perhaps just don’t mind working during this time.
As a little incentive to those staff, some businesses like to reward them by allowing them to ‘dress down’ during the festive period, or provide them with Christmas goodies such as mince pies and mulled wine. However, if providing staff with alcohol during work hours remember the do’s and don’ts in the Christmas party blog!
- Religious discrimination
Being sensitive to those within your business who have different faiths and beliefs. This may mean being conscious of how many Christmas decorations are put up in the office, to making the Christmas party voluntary, to providing a range of food and drink that everyone can enjoy.
- Employee engagement
The Christmas period can be a challenging time in the workplace with stress levels and absenteeism running at an all-time high. Therefore it may be a good idea to encourage some employee engagement such as;
- Taking part in the National Christmas Jumper Day 18/12/15,
- Decorating the office – Some things to bear in mind; health and safety aspects such as ensuring any lights have been PAT tested and some decorations such as mistletoe may not be the most appropriate to put up in the workplace. Make sure everyone knows what is considered appropriate.
- Secret Santa –encouraging your staff to partake in this voluntary, fun activity could help build communication and give staff something to look forward to. However, from a HR point of view, give the employees some guidelines to adhere to such as costs and, again, make sure everyone knows what is considered appropriate and what is not!
- Tighten the net
Internet usage in the office is bound to increase during this festive period with people doing last minute shopping and/or accessing social media websites to connect with friends and family. Just because it’s Christmas does not mean that your company’s internet policies have to change –make people aware that internet usage is, or will be, monitored and people found to be abusing this during work hours will have their internet revoked.
Ensure you have properly secured the premises and the alarms are switched on when leaving for Christmas.
To make sure you don’t end up on the ‘Naughty List’ why not give Tom Evans a call on 0151 230 1217 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss any concerns you might have about Christmas in your office.