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Krishan Sharma
Technology Journalist

Krishan Sharma is a freelance journalist who writes for various consumer tech and business IT publications

Krishan Sharma
Technology Journalist

Krishan Sharma is a freelance journalist who writes for various consumer tech and business IT publications

Automating as many processes as you can will make your business more productive – and also give you the freedom to pull away and take a much-needed break over the holidays.

Man cooking at Christmas

Schedule website, social media and mmail marketing updates ahead of time

The lead-up to Christmas and the Boxing Day sales is the busiest time of the year for a lot of businesses, particularly retailers. It’s important you have your promotional content locked in so that Christmas sales automatically go live while you’re away.

Almost all modern content management systems, social media platforms and email marketing tools allow you to prepare and schedule content and promotions in advance so that your business doesn’t go silent over the crucial holiday shopping period. 

Stay in contact

It’s difficult to keep a workplace running 24/7, particularly over the holidays, but there are tools you can use to answer customer enquiries even when you’re away. If you have an online chat facility on your website, be sure to set up auto-responders to common queries while also making sure that more advanced requests are escalated to staff. These can usually be set up as a notification on your smartphone so that nothing gets missed.

Also, don’t forget to set up call forwarding. Most VOIP services and carriers offer this feature, so that important calls can still reach you, no matter where you are. 

Time tracking

Even if everything in your business is running smoothly, always be prepared to log in some unexpected hours for a customer or client over any holiday period. And when you do, keep track of the time you spent.

Thankfully, there are many time-tracking apps that can monitor both your own work hours and your employees’ time as well. Apps such as Harvest, FreshBooks and Xero make it easy to track time spent against clients and projects. They can also set automatic multi-level reminders and approvals, and integrate with your other project management and accounting software. You can also have a customisable report, giving you complete oversight on the time spent on any given client or project, sent to you on a regular basis.

Invoicing

Chasing up unpaid invoices and worrying about cash flow is not what you want to be doing while on holiday. Popular accounting software such as Xero and FreshBooks can quickly tell you if a customer has viewed an invoice, automatically issue reminders for any outstanding invoices, and even notify you when they are paid. So relax and order another cocktail. 

Keep your business on track

When you’re away on a break, how do you ensure the jobs you laid out for your team are getting done? Fortunately, most modern task management programs offer on-demand reports for individual team members and provide automatic notifications, alerts and reminders via email. You can even create new tasks and manage them via your smartphone, delegating anything that crops up while you’re away. 

Manage roster changes

Anything can happen over the holiday season, so be prepared for unexpected roster changes. If you use scheduling software, set it up to notify your team immediately by email or text of any roster changes. Scheduling software such as When I Work can easily match a vacant shift with employee availability and let your team know immediately if a replacement is needed. It takes a lot of the stress out of filling shifts.

For things to work seamlessly, ask employees to regularly put their availabilities into the system and ensure that all time-off requests are completed well in advance to reduce unexpected staff shortages.

Learning to let go can be difficult for any business owner, but using this checklist planner as a guide will give you the peace of mind you’ll need over this holiday season. 

Read about these eight great productivity apps to get more done on the go.
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