Making use of the Festive Break

This is the time of year when you are likely to receive two phases of emails, tweets and blog postings. Phase one (roundabout now) provides a handy list of the business tasks you can do whilst relatively undisturbed or less hectic with meetings. Phase two happens throughout January, and it includes 101 benefits and uses of setting goals and targets for the forthcoming year.

I would like to suggest an alternative to lining up these recommendations, lists and tasks – PAUSE AND LOOK AROUND YOU.

But I love my business

Most of us who run a business do. We have all heard some people in business saying “it’s not really a job, I would do it anyway”, and that may apply to you.

My invitation is to be really honest with yourself and become very aware of the things that you would love to do if your business disappeared for a month without any harm. If you need a help starting your awareness, try exploring the headings of leisure, sport, health, family, friends, your community.

What do I do?

Carry a notebook and pen (electronic stuff tends to have close work links so can be distracting), and as you spend more time thinking about non-business life, jot down the new things that you start to notice. Maybe “call old frinds2, “take a walk”, “read a book”, “try a new recipe”. You will gradually rediscover the activities you used to enjoy when you spent less time on the business.

Even better, instead of writing notes just get up and enjoy the reading, chatting, running or tasting.

What if I have a good business idea?

Well, make a note of it but resist the temptation to dash to the computer and act further. The idea will not get lost – just dealt with after your break.

What will the result be?

Strangely enough, this may take you back to the times of a junior employee – when a day off was a day off, a holiday was just that.

You may not start 2012 with goals or marketing plans, but you may just rediscover the reasons you do what you do and remind yourself what success actually means. That is worth quite a lot.

Whatever your faith or traditions, enjoy the festive break!

Will a bank holiday for the Royal wedding cost you more money?

Following on from last week’s announcement about Prince William and Kate, a few employers might be concerned about their obligations regarding a bank holiday, if one were announced.

I welcome views on this, because there is a mixture of both moral and business issues.

Employers and Bank Holidays

This is where the legal position should be clear. Employees are not automatically entitled to take off bank holidays with full pay – it depends what is in their contract. Employment law gives a right to a minimum amount of holiday, but does allow flexibility about when this is taken. So if you are an employer, you need to follow what is in the contract, what is normally done (‘custom and practice) and consider whether future contracts should have something different in them. It may be that the time off will be taken against annual holiday, or is unpaid.

As an employee the situation is just the same – you are bound by your contract and need to clarify things if an new bank holiday were announced, in case you assume that you can just not turn up that day.

Employer’s moral obligations

Whatever provisions are in your employee contracts, you need to consider how your employees might react to any decision that you make.

  • would they consider time off an undisputed right?
  • would there be co-operation if your business had to remain open?
  • would some who are less keen on royalty want to choose a different day off in principle?

and many other responses …

So, in order to react quickly to an announcement, check out your employment contracts. If you need to, contact ACAS (link for leaflet about holiday pay here) or your HR expert for their view. When you know your legal position, decide on your stance in line with your management style.