We are nearing the year's end and to paraphrase one of the most famous carols, 'tis the season to be busy; or at least to be a busy owner or manager who has to provide their clients and customers with at least some semblance of service while depending on staff who don't really crave working during holidays.

Luckily. for those organisations that need to stay operational during the holidays, having an agile nature will be a huge plus as it can help keep the output steady. Of course, provided that you have and can manage your agile organisation properly during the holiday season.

Who works during the holidays?

Depending on the kind of an organisation you run, you will have more or less need to work during the holiday season. If you are lucky, you will be able to close the door and tell your people to enjoy the holidays with their family.

However, maybe you are working on a product that has a very nasty deadline and you cannot exactly afford to have everyone taking time off during the holidays? Perhaps you are providing support to other organisations that have to stay open no matter what? Perhaps you might even run a business whose peak season is the holidays, like an e-commerce shop of some kind?

In the latter cases, you will need to dig deep in your bag of managing tricks and ensure your agile organisation is getting the work done while still being a great place to work.

Prioritisation and Scheduling

During the holidays, you will want to cut down on everything and anything that is non-essential for the wellbeing of your organisation. For example, if your software development firm is working on two pieces of software and one of the deadlines is much closer than the other one, you will shift your reduced workforce to it and put the other one on the back burner, so to say. If you run an e-commerce shop, you will put everyone on customer support during the holidays. Upgrading your website or coming up with a new email marketing strategy will become non-essential.

Scheduling during the holidays works hand in hand with prioritising and it is near impossible to keep the organisation running without it. By coming up with a fixed schedule even before the holiday season kicks off, you will be able to notice the challenges and the holes that will need special attention. You might even consider using new solutions such as roster software for phone support or anything else that might cater to your needs and help you stay on top of things.

The important thing about scheduling is that it ensures everyone understands that you have meted out work in a democratic and reasonable fashion. This way, no one will feel unfairly overworked.

Policies can go a long way

As a business owner, you have the right to institute a time-off policy that will let your employees know their requests for time off can be refused during the holidays. In essence, they will be allowed time off on first-come-first-served basis. You need to protect your organisation and if this means refusing extra days off during the holiday season; you have every right to do so.

In fact, employers are not required by law to give their employees paid time off even during public and bank holidays in the UK. Of course, this does not mean you should turn into some Dickensian villain who works their employees to the bone while the rest of the country are enjoying their time off with their family.

Still, having a policy can go a long way towards keeping things organised during the holidays.

How being agile helps

As an agile organisation, you are actually in luck during the holidays. For example, as your permanent employees hand in their time-off requests, you will have your pool of part-timers and freelancers to tap into and handle the extra workload.

More importantly, if the holiday season is your busy season, you will once again be more flexible to cater to the increased needs.

In addition to this, thanks to your organisation allowing remote work, many of your agile workers might be prepared to put in at least a few hours every day, from the comfort of their own homes. This way, you will be able to plug the holes that may appear despite your stellar prioritisation and scheduling.

Closing word

While you will be doing everything you can to keep your agile organisation up and running during the holidays, you must also remember that your employees (both permanent and temp ones) deserve the best during the holidays.

You should do everything in your power to allow them to enjoy their holidays, or to at least let them know that you understand their lack of exuberance about working during the season.



Written by:
James D. Burbank

James D. Burbank is always on a lookout for new business practices and concepts that will improve the way we do business. He has spent more than fifteen years in marketing and he runs a business-oriented blog called BizzMarkBlog.

James D. Burbank is always on a lookout for new business practices and concepts that will improve the way we do business. He has spent more than fifteen years in marketing and he runs a business-oriented blog called BizzMarkBlog.

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