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Christmas Shutdown: Our step-by-step guide.

With all that is happening in the world right now and all of us slowly beginning to leave the worst of pandemic behind, it can be easy to forget that it is already November and we need to turn our focus towards preparing for the end of the year. This can be a straightforward task so long as you follow a checklist. Luckily, we have prepared one for your convenience. 

Step 1: Determine the shutdown period for your business, ensuring all calendars are updated with this information. Some businesses may choose to shut down for longer than others, but every business will also need to make sure that their HR and Payroll software reflect this. Public holidays during this period cannot be forgotten either. 

If any leave arrangements need to be discussed with staff, be sure to do this early and give managers deadlines for approving requests. Don’t forget to book somewhere for the Christmas Party.

Step 2: Finalise your rostering and operational requirements. If your business remains partially open over the break, it will be important to decide what departments can be fully shut down and which ones can be left operable with a skeleton staff.

If some staff will keep working over the break, they will need to know their roster and an appropriate emergency contact. Any recruitment and on/off-boarding of staff will likely need to be completed at the same time. 

Most awards state that a 4-week minimum notice period is required, so it important to act now and ensure staff know if and when they are working.

Step 3: Completing outstanding Payroll and Finance matters. At least one pay cycle is likely to overlap with the holiday period, so if you have Payroll software you will need to make sure it continues as normal.

In addition to that, planning for any payments resulting from employee terminations need to be accounted for. Any staff members who usually manage these takes will need to have delegates in place to take over if they are taking extended leave. This includes access to the relevant Payroll/HR/Facilities software. 

Any changes to applicable awards for your staff should be implemented prior to 1 January 2022. 

Step 4: Book staff engagement activities and meetings. This is a good time to conduct a half-yearly pulse check with your staff regarding their own achievements but also for managers to get a sense of staff attitude and mental wellbeing (think potential turnover and burnout concerns, how to address them and so forth). This could also involve sending out a feedback survey if required. 

Booking in a ‘year in review’ session with your staff also helps everyone assess what they have achieved that year, both in their personal lives and at work. It is also a great opportunity to assess the business or organisation’s goals and to celebrate the work that went into turning those aspirations into reality. 

Step 5: Prepare for end-of-year celebrations and publish expectations. Staff are likely looking forward to celebrating together and enjoying each other’s company, but it is important to make it clear that the business or organisation still expects a minimum standard of behaviour. Policies relating to matters such as the consumption of alcohol and other conduct may need to be reiterated to staff. 

In the end, it is a well-earned break for all of us. However, it takes careful planning to keep things running smoothly while we all take time away. 

If you would further information on our guide or if you need help formulating a plan for this time of year, please contact me at 

Suzanne Diprose, Director
0408 897 079