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Christmas, Sad

Beating the Festive Fear

When you’re the boss, Christmas isn’t all prosecco and party poppers. Follow these five simple steps to put your mind at rest.

It can feel like the pressure is on to make December ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ for all your staff. That means planning a Christmas party and paying for it.

On top of that, there’s the headache of having to manage employee time off when firms can be at their most hectic.

No wonder small business owners told us that the festive season can be hard. In fact, according to research we commissioned at QuickBooks, a third of business owners described the period as a stressful time. * The findings also found that:

  • 47% of small business leaders worry about keeping their workforce happy during the busy Christmas period
  • 43% have concerns about meeting customer demand when staff are out of the office over the festive period

But there’s no need to succumb to the statistics. Here’s how to make the festive season as stress-free as possible.

1. Get ahead with your finances

It’s tempting to take a festive break from thinking about your finances, but money worries often cause stress. It’s important to know where you stand, whatever the season.

Look at last year’s December and January figures to estimate how much money you’re going to bring in over these crucial couple of months. Using an accounting software can help provide a quick, clear view of your financial health.

Take stock of your cash in the bank and other reserves going into December. This will give you a clear view of what you can afford to spend over the festive period. After all, no Christmas party is worth putting your business at risk.

2. Don’t be too hard on yourself 

You might feel pressured to push the boat out for your staff, but they may be more reasonable than you think.  The average business owner will spend £52 per employee at Christmas. However, employee’s expectations fall lower at £40 a head.

Despite spending nearly 20% more, nearly three quarters of bosses think employee expectations are too high. What’s more, a significant chunk of employees (38%) say that they would be understanding if the boss simply explains that they can’t afford to go all out.

In other words, apply the same principles as you would at any other time of year. Talk to your team, listen to what they have to say, and you’re likely to be onto a winner.

3. ‘Tis the season… to spread the joy

If you can afford to give your employees a decent knees-up this Christmas, do.  You’ll both reap the benefits.

Most employees (80%) feel more loyal to a company that gives them a good time over Christmas – and they won’t take liberties the next day, with over half (54%) believing it’s not right to come in more than an hour late the day after the Christmas party

4. Find some time for yourself

Employees deserve a Christmas reward for their hard work this year — but so do you.

In fact, bosses are more likely to feel the burden of this time of year with a third reporting stress compared to a quarter of employees.

Show confidence in your team and trust them keep things ticking over while you take a break. It will be good for their development as well as your mental wellbeing.

5. Plan for next year, now

If you decide you can’t afford to take your team out this year, start putting some money aside every month for Christmas 2020.  Make this the first of your New Year’s Resolutions to get on top your finances.

We often talk to small business owners about the challenges they face, and many are unaware of the benefits of managing their business digitally. There are so many ways to save time and stay in control, from automating processes such as invoicing and payroll to tracking mileage and expenses. Time that you could be spending with friends and family or identifying opportunities to help grow your business in the New Year.

To find out more about how QuickBooks can help you manage all aspects of running your business, discover more about QuickBooks today.

* Research conducted by Opinium on behalf of Intuit QuickBooks of 567 workers at SMEs and 500 senior decision makers at SMEs.

Attributed to Hayley Penn, HR Leader at Intuit QuickBooks UK

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