Christmas is an unusual time for most businesses. Some shut down altogether during that no-mans’-land period between Christmas and New Year. Others stay open, but find staff numbers severely depleted as people realise they can enjoy almost two weeks off while using just a few days of holiday.
And for some companies, Christmas is super-busy. Retailers have to cope with last-minute Christmas shoppers (the weekend saw the busiest day of the year on High Streets), yet some only shut for a single day before reopening for the start of the sales on Boxing Day.
A stressful season?
No matter whether your business falls into the ‘super busy’ or ‘almost shut down’ category over Christmas, there are a number of ways technology can help you. After all, this time of year is one when your employees can face pressures from a number of different places.
Work commitments can clash with the need to get the shopping done and travel round the country visiting family, all while coping with having the kids around for two weeks. Throw in the usual Christmas travel troubles (it can’t be as bad as last year!) and any seasonal goodwill can fast evaporate.
Make it a happy Christmas with technology
Many bosses cut their workforce a little more slack than usual at Christmas, but technology can give your employees a little extra flexibility too.
Take mobile email. It’s widely-used and any new business email system worth its salt should let your staff log in and access their messages on their mobile phones. If your business is one where things quieten down during the Christmas and New Year period, why not let your staff come in later and finish earlier?
With email set up on their mobile phones, they’ll find it easy to keep in touch with anything that crops up while they’re at home – but they can also enjoy a bit of a lie-in or get that last-minute wrapping done. It won’t damage your business, but your staff will appreciate the extra flexibility.
Avoid the great getaway
This is the one week of the year when it feels like the entire country is on the move. So, rather than forcing your people to join the crush on the trains or the jams on the roads, why not let them travel a day or two earlier, then do their work remotely?
With the right technology – like cloud computing – your staff can log in to company systems from any internet connection, with access to everything they need. That means they can work just as well when they’re staying with friends or family. And they’ll be less stressed, because they’ll have been able to travel at a quieter time.
Have some fun with Christmas technology
If all that seems a bit serious for what’s meant to be a festive time of year, there are (as you’d expect) plenty of Christmas distractions online.
One of the best has to be Alek’s controllable Christmas lights, a bizarre and visually confusing website which claims to let you control over 20,000 Christmas lights attached to a house somewhere in north America. (Back in 2004 the site was exposed as a hoax, but the owner now claims it is for real.)
And if that’s not enough for you, don’t forget to track Santa’s progress on Saturday night, as he flies round the globe distributing all those presents. There’s even an app for that!