Keeping Your Business Running During the Holidays
By Jenna Oltersdorf
For all of its promise of wonder, December always brings a lot of pressure. From carefully capturing every party on our family calendar to ensuring we’re sensitive to our team members for time off to ensuring we’re taking care of our clients, December is truly a juggling act. We can’t say the same for family life but, with a little planning, your work life should be as stress-free as possible.
Flexibility in Office Hours
At Snackbox, we give our people the benefit of the doubt. If you need time off for a doctor’s appointment or it’s a gross weather day, we are happy to offer flexibility in the workplace. Because public relations is a 24/7 task, we expect our team members to watch their phones carefully for reporter requests and client needs whether they’re on the clock or not. And because of that expectation, it’s easy for us to grant flexibility, especially during this time of year.
Flexibility comes with accountability and as a team member, if you’re constantly showing you are capable of working within a flexible work environment, we’re typically very eager to reward that behavior. We also make it very easy to show your accountability through services like Slack that are easily accessible through phone and computer, and will keep you connected to your team throughout the holiday season.
Managing with Understanding
Most PR people can easily be categorized as “Type A” personalities. We’re the people who make lists for our lists! With a little planning ahead, it allows us to be on the same page in terms of taking time off and ensuring client needs are covered. For example, in earlier years we noticed that most people (team members, reporters and clients) take time off between Christmas and New Year’s, so we took that as a hint to close the office during that time and team members have the option to work from home (we call them “pajama days”).
Encouraging Time Off
Some team members jump at the chance to take time off, but others struggle with stepping away. By pre-planning specific days for office closure, it forces even the most dedicated team member to take some time to recharge. Develop a process for your team members to ensure people at all levels are able to take time off without much stress. Examples include: How to handle your out-of-office reply and giving your clients fair warning you’ll be out (with an alternate contact, of course).
Be Clear About Goals
Our team has taken to building a list on a central dry erase board called “We will accomplish the following this week”. We get a tremendous sense of relief to cross them off as items are completed (again, we love lists!). Provide your team with tools to stay on track through the holiday season while maintaining a sense of accomplishment.
Many associate the end of the year just with bonuses, but that shouldn’t be the case with your team. While the end of the year is a great time to provide bonuses based on profit sharing, also consider rolling in performance reviews and other milestones related to the evaluation of the team member’s efforts in December, and also throughout the year.
We listen to our team when it comes to work “togetherness”. In year’s past we’ve hosted dinners, lunches and even ugly sweater contests. We haven’t settled on one particular tradition at Snackbox because the workload and interests of our team are constantly changing. We work to be flexible in what we do, but always aim to walk away with the same result: more appreciation for our team members, a lot of laughs and good memories.
With a little patience and understanding during the most wonderful time of the year, you and your team members will enter the new year relaxed and prepared by planning ahead, communicating and working together to keep your clients happy.