6 Reasons to Consider Closing Your Office for Christmas Week

By FocusMe Team on 20 December 2019

It’s the Holiday season and you’re faced with a big dilemma of pushing through and getting some work done or closing the office for the Christmas week.

Choosing the second approach brings various benefits to the table.

You may worry that a week-long business discontinuation will lead to a productivity loss but research suggests the exact opposite. And this isn’t the sole benefit of a week-long Holiday break. Taking some time away from the office will result in an array of other advantages that we’re about to discuss in the sections below.

Higher Employee Morale = A Productivity Boost

Christmas parties, gift exchanges and other events at the office are seen by many managers as a way to boost spirits during the Holiday season.

While some people may like such events, it’s been consistently shown that some employees are annoyed by office festivities. These add even more stress and a distraction to a short month that’s already perceived as too busy.

Instead of attempting to bring the Christmas spirit to the office, let people go for a week. That’s one of the best ways to boost employee morale and make people more productive when they return to work after the Holidays.

January is already known as the least productive month – only 7.2 percent of tasks will be completed in the first month of the year. The stress of December and coming off the Holiday high are two of the main reasons why people’s heads aren’t in the game.

A week-long vacation at the end of December could be a good way to counter that post-holiday fatigue and ensure proper employee engagement once work resumes.

You’re Probably Experiencing Holiday Slowdown

Unless your company operates in the realm of retail, you’re probably experiencing a Holiday slowdown in December.

Even holiday spending this year is projected to be low. This means that business will be down for just about all companies.

Shutting the office down for Christmas week isn’t going to harm your business. Chances are that your partners and your clients (especially if you’re a B2B brand) are not working at 100 percent of their capacity.

The week provides the perfect opportunity to take a break and recharge your batteries instead of just sitting at the office and doing nothing.

Eliminating Unnecessary Expenses

Staying open at a time when the business is slow comes at a specific cost.

Whether you’re dealing with 10 or 100 customers, you will have to pay wages, overtime compensations and you’ll need to cover the everyday expenditures linked to doing your work. If the incoming revenue isn’t covering for these expenses, you’re not doing a financially-sound thing by keeping the office open.

As already mentioned, the holidays are lethargic for most companies. In the best case scenario, your company will end up breaking even after the Christmas week is over. Do a bit of math and if the calculations don’t give you a favorable scenario, shut operations down for the entire Christmas week.

Creating a Culture of Self-Care

Every single decision you make as a manager has an effect on office culture.

Showing people it’s ok to take a break and enjoy a week-long vacation builds a corporate culture of self-care.

Encouraging people to take some time off benefits their health and increases their productivity. Vacations reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 50 percent, they combat chronic stress and the medical conditions linked to it (insomnia, metabolic disorders and even type 2 diabetes).

Putting employees first ensures loyalty. The corporate culture that’s entirely result-driven completely ignores the needs of the individual. If you adopt such a culture in the long run, you risk having to deal with issues like high turnover rates and excessive sick leaves.

Your Competitors Are Also Doing It

While this isn’t the most important reason for a business decision to be made, it’s indicative of a mindset shift.

In 2017, 15 percent of organizations closed down their offices completely in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. While this may seem like a small percentage, it’s significant enough in the grand scheme of things.

It simply doesn’t make sense to continue operating when your clients and your business partners are away for the holidays.

In fact, some of the biggest and most profitable Silicon Valley businesses are shutting down for the holidays. If you need names, here they are – HP, Dell, Adobe and Texas Instruments. Some of these companies have actually prolonged the Christmas break, announcing the discontinuation of operations from December 22 all the way up to January 5.

Consider a Hybrid Approach

If a shutdown for the Holiday week is not feasible, consider another alternative to the regular work schedule at the office.

Of the companies mentioned above, HP announced that the only team working over the Holidays would be the one offering customers critical support.

Consider having a Holiday shift (with the respective financial compensation) for a team of workers who’d be keeping operations going over the holidays. That’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Those who want to relax will get to do so and the emergency holiday team will earn some nice additional money over the course of Christmas week.

You know your business well and you know which method of operation will deliver the best results over the Christmas week.

Do a bit of analysis on the basis of work volumes over the previous years and the workload you’ve experienced so far in December. This information will give you a good idea about whether keeping the office open over the holidays makes any kind of sense.

Finally, don’t feel guilty for taking a week off. While initially you may feel that your business is going to suffer from the halt, research suggests the exact opposite. You’ll be saving some money, you’ll be making your workers healthier and more engaged when they return after the vacation. These are all advantages worth pursuing.