Organising workloads over the festive period is no easy feat for modern managers. Between those who have carefully saved up their holiday allowances so that they don’t have to worry about work, to those who are travelling home for the holidays, to those who aren’t even in the country for Christmas - there’s a plenty to consider.
Increasingly, for the period known as ‘betwixt-mas’ (that limbo in between Boxing Day and New Years), managers are allowing their teams to work remotely, or act “on call” in case anything goes awry and needs attention. Now, this sounds like a great solution - employees can enjoy time with their family without having to physically travel to and from the office, and the business has the cover they desperately need - so what’s the problem? Well, for managers, this makes it increasingly difficult to keep track of your team’s activities, how much they’re actually working, as well as organising this all well ahead of time.
Planning is key in order for this to be a merry festive period for all - your mum was right, be prepared! Firstly, look at anything that is open and classify them into essential or non-essential tasks - you’re going to be working with less than usual staff, something is going to have to give. By working out ahead what’s necessary and what will wait until the New Year, you’ll be able to more easily assess how many team members you actually need to work remotely. There’s nothing worse than being told you have to work the holidays and when you log on, there’s nothing to do!
Secondly, check your leave sheet. As a manager, you should’ve approved anyone taking leave anyway, but double check who is officially off work and cannot be drafted in. Check this against their current projects and see if any of them are essential. If so, remind them that they need to fully handover their tasks to another available team member before they head off on their Christmas break. This should already be a protocol that’s in place, but people tend to get excited and forgetful in the lead up to the festive period, so a reminder is always welcome.
The next factor you need to take into account is skillset - who on your team can perform those essential tasks, are some of them specialist or can any member of your team carry them out? This will help to determine who will need to work remotely. Also, consider if any of these tasks can be automated or scheduled ahead of time to save people having to work during ‘betwixt-mas’. With marketing tasks or uploads in particular, many platforms include a scheduling feature that means team members don’t have to be actively online when the post goes live. If this is something that is available to you it’s definitely worth planning the content ahead of time to save employees working during the holidays.
Finally, ensure that you have a way of communicating with your entire team during this period. After all, you’re still their manager, and there still might be questions or queries that need your attention. With remote working, there are many programmes that you can use to keep your entire team in the loop and on track, such as Wundamail, no matter your team’s location or time zone. Now that you’ve stripped down the workload to the essentials, worked out who needs to work in order to keep everything running, and organised a way of communicating with your entire team, you’re all set for your festive remote working. Now, where did you leave those mince pies?