How to close down your business for Christmas

Christmas in the office

Christmas is nearly upon us and many business-owners and managers will have a busy week ahead of them before they can ‘shut up shop’ and enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation.

So, which areas do you need to focus on when closing down a business for the holidays?

Inside your premises

  • Make sure all valuables are locked away safely and no cash is left on-site (deposit it at the bank).
  • Till owners should leave the drawers open to show cash has been removed.
  • Close and lock all external doors and windows. When leaving your premises for the last time before Christmas, have a quick look around the building’s exterior to make sure no windows have unwittingly been left open.
  • Remove any vehicle and spare door keys.
  • Don’t turn your heating system off, because it can cause burst pipes. Instead, save money by turning your heating system down a few degrees.
  • If possible, turn electrical equipment off at the plug. Even when left on standby, it will be using power.
  • Make sure any Christmas decorations are kept away from heaters, lights and electrical items that are left on during the shutdown period.
  • Carry out a quick test on your alarm system a few weeks before you close down for Christmas. If in any doubt, call out a professional engineer.
  • Lock internal doors (especially to rooms containing stock and valuable machinery/equipment).
  • Empty your premises’ fridge and cupboards of foodstuffs likely to go off.
  • Make sure bins are emptied — especially those that contain foodstuffs.

Outside your premises

  • Take any uncollected bags of rubbish to the local rubbish tip. Don’t leave them outside your premises.
  • Don’t leave anything outside your premises that might help a criminal to break in (eg ladders, bricks, etc).

People

  • Inform your customers when your business will be closed at least a couple of weeks in advance.
  • Cancel all deliveries in good time and let suppliers know when you’ll be open again.
  • In the event that the police will need to make contact if your burglar alarm goes off, make sure your key holder list is up to date.
  • Tell your employees — in writing — what days the business is closed and what days they need to take as holiday.
  • When closing up for the final time, check thoroughly to ensure no one is still on-site.

Vehicles

  • If you have any commercial vehicles, park them safely inside your premises if possible. If not, parking them outside your home could be a wiser option.
  • Remove all valuables from your vehicles and leave a minimum amount of fuel in tanks.

IT

  • You and any employees should set email auto-response messages, informing customers when the business will be re-opening.
  • Back up your IT systems and store the data safely off premises.
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