Telling the truth about SME life today

Ask Timpo: how do I keep the office ticking over in holiday season?

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A: I know what you mean about August. For years I became grumpy as I struggled to do business as usual surrounded by empty desks.  Most of my telephone calls were greeted by an ansaphone  – “I’m on leave for my summer break, please leave a message which I will pick up when I return to work on Tuesday September 1st.”

“Never happened in my day,” I complained, thinking of life 40 years ago when we only got two weeks holiday plus an extra day at Christmas.

Now I see it differently. Working in summer is wonderful. Less traffic on the way to an office full of peace and quiet. I get the space to do the enjoyable strategic jobs – tasks that need lots of concentration without interruption.

If August is a particularly busy time for your business, you must have a carefully managed holiday rota. Give priority to the parents of school children treating everyone else on a first come basis.

Don’t be paranoid about your half-empty office. Let others disappear to a busy beach on Ibiza or a packed pub on Anglesey and grab the opportunity to think about your future plans. And while you are there, field a few phone calls on behalf of your absent colleagues – you could discover quite a lot about them and your business.

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