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Making the most of your December!


21 November 2023

December can be a really busy month both professionally and personally. We know our calendars are already filling up with end of year celebrations, school events and festive season plans.  Amongst all that chaos it can be hard to figure out how to make the most out of your December at work.

Working with small and medium sized businesses over the past couple of decades, we know that our clients fall into two categories when it comes to December, things are either starting to ramp up or slow down. This often depends on your industry, for events and hospitality this is your busy period but for people in the finance sector, you might see a slow down of clients and projects. Regardless of your situation, here is how to get the most out of YOUR December.

If you are busy….

Firstly take a deep breath and try to think back to this time last year. What happened in December 2022 and is it reasonable to think that those things might happen again? If so make a plan now for how you’ll manage those situations.

Consider the public holidays. This year Christmas Day on a Monday, Boxing Day is on a Tuesday and New Years Day is on a Monday so if you plan to be open and operating on these days, you’ll need to make sure you know exactly what employees should be paid. You should check your relevant awards to consider public holiday rates or call to talk to one of our consultants if you need any advice or support.

Need more staff? If summer is your busiest time, now is the time to start recruiting and training the team who will deliver the services and profitability of the business in a couple of months’ time. When you add up the time needed to advertise, review resumes, interview candidates, do reference or other pre-work checks and train your new hires on your systems, there is a lot to get through. Start now for a less stressful and more cost-effective start to the peak period. Keep in mind that if this is a seasonal role, you can engage them as casuals and pay them only for the time they are working and training in the business.

Know your workforce. If you employ a lot of casuals you’ll need to make sure you understand the laws about how you roster, engage and pay these employees. It is important to know the minimum number of hours casual employees can work for under your specific award and how much notice you need to provide if you plan to cancel a shift. Casuals might be entitled to penalty rates so check which penalty rates are payable for which days and hours.

If you’re starting to slow down…

Shutdowns and leave. If your business closes down over the end of year, you likely let your team know about this earlier in the year. Most awards require 3 months’ notice of shutdowns. If you missed that date this year, make sure you mark that calendar for September 2024 to let your team know the plan. A quite period is a great time to ask your team to take some of their annual leave, if you paid annual leave with the public holidays people can get a nice break using minimal days.

Finances and IT wellness check. Now is a great time to look at your accounting and IT systems and processes. Make a time to talk to your accountant and make sure everything is as its needs to be as you move into 2024. This could be running some small audit reports, checking vendor information or analysing cash flow. It’s a great time to look at your IT as well. An IT audit could include making sure your anti-virus software is up to date and fit for purpose, reminding your team to have 2 factor verification on and being hyper vigilant about scams, making backups of your contact lists, evaluate your file naming conventions to ensure consistency and everyone being able to easily find information they need. Take some time to audit your website now, take down old content and make sure everything is up to date and valid.

Refresh your purpose. How did things go in 2023? What are your plans and goals for 2024? This is a great time to reflect on the wins and losses of the year. What you would change if you could go back and what you have to reinvent in 2024.

Celebrate and reward. Regardless of whether your team have worked hard all year or are newly hired, planning how you will recognise the team early can save you a lot of money and really take the stress out of the busiest time of year. There are so many great ways to recognise and reward your team but remember that unused marketing materials are not gift appropriate! Step away from the Marketing Collateral cupboard! Have a look at our gift guide blog for inspiration. A great way to celebrate the successes of 2023 is to send out a celebration of 2023 email, this could highlight to the team all the successes you have had this year and what you’re most proud of and exited for 2024.

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