Small businesses: what you need to know at Christmas
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The Christmas season is often the time of year to enjoy some fun and festivities at work but also throws up some important considerations. Organising the Christmas party is usually an important priority at this time of year but there are some other things that should be on your Christmas checklist to make sure the festive season runs smoothly and HR-worry free! So, as a small business, what do you need to know at Christmas?

 

Managing Christmas holiday requests

December can be one of the busiest times of year for holiday requests, not only due to Christmas itself but, if your holiday year runs from January to December, often employees will be wanting to use up any remaining holiday during the month of December, especially if you don’t have a carry-over holiday policy.

Managing multiple holiday requests at the same time of year can be very challenging for small business owners. On one hand, you will want to keep your team happy by trying to accommodate their holiday requests wherever possible but, on the other hand, unless you have a Christmas shutdown period, your business still needs to keep running over the festive season.

Asking employees to put in their Christmas holiday requests early can really help you to plan in advance. So, perhaps over the summer or early autumn consider asking your team to start thinking about if and when they might want to take holiday over Christmas. You can then collate the requests and give everyone enough notice of whether or not you are able to accommodate their requests or if some degree of compromise may be needed.

The holiday feature on our software makes it easy for you to keep track of all those holiday requests, and our simple team calendar layout means you can see at quick glance if there are any clashes in requests for time off.

 

Sending festive greetings

While Christmas may be celebrated by many of your employees, it might not be by everyone, and it is important to be aware of this. Not only could there be different religions amongst the team, but there may be other reasons for why some employees may not celebrate Christmas. Sensitivity and awareness that Christmas might not be a joyful time of year for everyone is important to have as a business owner.

Therefore, you might want to think about how to position any Christmas messages or greetings that you are planning to send not only to your team but also to customers, partners, suppliers etc. Companies often opt for a ‘seasons greetings’ type of message that can be applied more widely or reference the ‘festive season’.

Similarly, some employees may not be as enthusiastic as others to decorate the office or play Christmas music. This doesn’t mean you have to be bah humbug and ban Christmas altogether but do give some thought and sensitivity to making sure all of your employees feel included and comfortable at work at this time of year.

 

Christmas parties

While your Christmas party is unlikely to be particularly focused on the religious context of Christmas, it’s still important to be mindful of religion when making plans to ensure that nothing you organise could be considered religious discrimination.

It’s also worth thinking about whether you have any employees who may experience social anxiety or find these types of occasions difficult. Not everyone feels the same about social activities and it is important to recognise that this may not be a sign of disengagement or not being a team player. Organising some smaller activities in addition to the Christmas party may appeal more to those who don’t enjoy parties. For example, screening a Christmas film in the office at lunchtime, if you have the facilities to do so, can be a nice relaxed activity, or going for a Christmas lunch in a smaller group.

We’ve written another blog specifically about Christmas parties that will help give you some guidance.

 

Remember, Christmas can be an enjoyable time of year for employees and business owners alike but it’s important to make sure all of your staff feel comfortable within their workplace over the festive season. That’s all the need-to-knows for small businesses from us, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

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