Holiday management 101: paying employees and scheduling time off.

The silly season is approaching and that means making sure your staff and your business are sorted for the holidays.

While managing your business over the break can be particularly tricky for SMBs, the sooner you get the logistics sorted, the sooner you can start getting into the holiday spirit.

Here are some of the important items to check off your to-do list.*

Update your holiday opening hours.

The first decision you’ll need to make is whether to shut down completely over the Christmas and New Year break, or to run on a skeleton crew.

The holiday season is a slow period for most businesses so it might make sense to shut down completely, both from a cost point of view and to give yourself and your employees some much-needed R&R.

Whatever works for your business, don’t forget to update your business hours on your Google Business Profile, Yellow Pages Online listing and anywhere else customers could be looking to find out if and when you’re operating over the holidays.

Figure out your employees’ holiday schedules.

No matter what your opening hours will be, your employees may want to take time off to spend with family and friends. You can either direct your team to take annual leave or work out an agreement for unpaid leave – or a combination of the two.

Before finalising your dates, read up on awards and agreements for your industry. Different industries have different regulations on whether employees can be directed to take annual leave, so check the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) website for up-to-date information.

Keep in mind that if you need team members to stay on deck during evenings, weekends or public holidays, you may have to pay them a penalty rate depending on the award for your industry.

Send a Christmas shutdown notice to employees.

If you’re closing up shop, you have to give your team plenty of notice. Most industry awards require that employers provide employees with at least four weeks’ notice of a shutdown, including if you’re directing employees to take annual leave.

Check your industry’s requirements on the FWO website to make sure you’re meeting your legal requirements. The FWO also provides a Christmas shutdown notice template you can tailor to your business.

Work out your employee bonuses.

The holiday period is a great time to thank your staff for their hard work and get your team excited for the year ahead. There’s no hard-and-fast rule for how to calculate bonuses for employees, but some common methods include:

  • A percentage of weekly or monthly salary
  • A flat bonus for all employees
  • A performance-based bonus

Keep in mind bonuses are subject to tax. Check the ATO’s tax table for bonuses or speak with your tax adviser or accountant for more information.

Plan some holiday-themed SEO blogs.

SEO-optimised blogs can do a lot to boost your content marketing efforts over the holidays – but they take time to get results, so the earlier you can post them, the better.

Start by using a free tool such as Ubersuggest to get some ideas for holiday-themed keywords and topics that are relevant to your business.

Here are some examples for inspiration:

  • Electrician: X Christmas lighting trends for 2022
  • Plumber: How to find an emergency plumber on public holidays
  • Accountant: How to set your budget for the New Year
  • Florist: Trending festive flowers and arrangements for 2022
  • Hairdresser: X of the hottest styles for 2023
  • Mortgage brokers: Is Christmas a good time to buy a house?
  • Personal trainers: X tips to stay on track with your fitness goals over the holidays

RELATED: eBook: The SMB’s guide to Christmas marketing.

Create a dedicated holiday landing page for your website.

Google and other search engines want to show their users information that’s relevant to their queries. Having a holiday landing page on your website is not only beneficial for local SEO but also for providing a good customer experience. When it comes to creating the page, have a think about the types of information your customers are searching for. This might include:

  • Stock availability. How will your stock be impacted over the holiday period?
  • Delivery timeframes. When do customers need to order by to get their delivery before Christmas?
  • Promotions and offers. What special deals or promotions are you running this year?
  • Opening hours and closures. How will your hours of operation be changing over the holidays?
  • Customer support. How can customers contact your business during the break?
  • Returns and exchanges. Will you be offering extended returns and exchanges over the holidays?

TIP: If you’re running a holiday advertising campaign, you could also link your ads back to this landing page (depending on your goals).

Schedule your social media posts.

Aim to have your social media posts planned out ahead of time so you can keep up engagement over the holidays. Most social media platforms allow you to create and schedule posts to be automatically published on a date and time of your choosing.

If you’re on multiple social media platforms and want to manage everything in one place, tools like Thryv allow you to stay on top of all your activity from a single dashboard. This is especially useful if you’re running a dedicated holiday marketing campaign.

If you need a hand with any of your digital marketing efforts this festive season, let Yellow Pages take care of the hard work for you. Get in touch to find out how we can help.

*We endeavour to provide accurate material for Australian businesses consistent with Australian laws; however, this material is for reference only and is not designed to be, nor should it be regarded as professional advice.

Need help with your holiday marketing strategy? Give Yellow Pages a call or send us a message below.

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