The holiday season often means closing down the office for a week or two, but before doing so; carefully consider the most appropriate and harmonious way to do this.
Legally, you are required to give notice to your employees. The notice you are required to give is dependent on the industry and the award that covers your business. You may be required to give four weeks notice or you may be required to give less, but you should consider giving as much notice as you think your staff will need to make arrangements, particularly if they aren’t entitled to paid leave for this period.
Christmas and the new year are an expensive time of year, so the more notice and time you allow for staff to prepare, the less likely they are to become disgruntled.
Consider how this will impact on your employees and work towards creating a scenario that will satisfy most, if not all, of your staff. Some employees may not have accrued enough annual leave to cover the office closing down period, meaning they will need to take unpaid leave. You may be able to offer alternatives, such as working from home or covering some of the administrative tasks that will need completion whilst being shut down.
It is always wise to notify employees formally, whether that be through a printed memo, email, etc. This time of year can be very busy and chaotic, and by only telling employees in a conversation, it can be very easy for them to forget. By having the shutdown plans in writing, you can also prove you have given adequate notice should any issues arise.
Coming back to work after the EOY shutdown can be quite tumultuous, particularly if the employees haven’t completed appropriate tasks before closing down. Appropriate tasks would include:
- Notifying clients of the office’s closing dates and reminding them that there won’t be anyone to help them for the set time frame
- Diverting calls and emails
- Wrapping up any projects such as annual reports before going on leave
- Office clean up such as cleaning out the fridge, taking out rubbish, turning off appliances, etc.