3 Steps to Get Ready for Holiday Office Closure

Posted in office operations / vacation / staff team

3 Steps to Get Ready for Holiday Office Closure

The holidays are right around the corner and taking time off from work can provide a much-needed break. Whether a non-profit closes for one week, two weeks, or a set number of days, a holiday office closure isn’t a simple weekend, with everyone back at their desks on Monday.

The longer time away means there will be a pause on not only programs and services, but also on administrative functions. Taking some time to plan, will protect holidays from surprises or moments of panic that can draw a non-profit staffer back to the office.

Pay the bills.

Planning for bill payment is a big part of holiday scheduling. A non-profit will want to avoid late fees or missed payments because the office was closed for longer than a few days.

Non-profits that use traditional cheque payment systems can plan for two dates to have cheques signed, one as close to the last day at the office and another within the first 7-10 days in the new year. Non-profits that use credit card or online payment systems can assess payment due dates and plan to pay early or make bill payment the first task when back after holidays.

This planning catches most payments, leaves little room for error, and helps make sure the rent cheque is ready in advance.

Clear your desk.

Planning to wrap up major projects will very likely start a month or two before the holiday break. But in those final days before the office closes, it helps to keep an eye on the task list. Tasks coming up in the last week, will need to be assessed differently. This is a mindset shift, and I’ll be honest, it isn’t easy for a dedicated executive director.

During a normal work week, tasks that come up are scheduled for completion either immediately or put on the calendar to be handled at a specific date. In the final week before the holiday break, tasks are ALL put on the calendar to be handled AFTER a return to the office in the new year. Avoid the temptation to work an extra day or two to handle a few last minutes items. Unless a true emergency pops up, schedule it for the new year.

Recognize that time off is normal.

I fully recognize that some non-profit organizations have delicate work that can’t stop over the holidays. For all the others, it helps to remember clients aren’t in their offices and don’t need you to be in yours.  Sometimes it takes a bit of nerve to believe it is OK to close the shop.

Executive directors need to lead by example.

There are lots of articles that talk about what kind of leadership to provide as an executive director. From the way we talk to our teams, to the way we participate in programming. An executive director will want to model a behaviour for their team to follow. That applies to time away from work.

Everyone gets holidays and there shouldn’t be any guilt to take them. An executive director can show their team how it’s done. Take a break. No email. No phone. No work at home.

Embrace the rest.

Stack up those mysteries, play board games with the kids, and enjoy the time off. Everyone will return so much more refreshed in the new year.

When a non-profit wants to plan for a true holiday break, with zero email-checking and no emergencies, these 3 easy steps will build a path to a guilt-free vacation.

Thanks for taking the time to read my ideas. If you know someone who needs to read this, why not grab the link, and share it with them. Let’s work together to make holiday time part of how we do our jobs.

Happy Holidays everyone!!


Hi, I'm Christie Saas, former board member, current Executive Director, and non-profit volunteer. I remember well, those early years when I lacked the training, the confidence, and the work-life balance to focus on becoming the best non-profit leader I could be.

Fast-forward past many bumps in the road, lessons learned, and you’ll find me still in the trenches, but a little wiser, a little calmer, and a whole lot happier. I love my work and I want to help you love yours too.

I created ChristieSaas.com so non-profit leaders never need to feel alone. I’m here to help. If you’re a brand-new non-profit leader, or a little more seasoned, someone who’s looking to make a meaningful contribution and still have time for a full life away from the job, you’re in the right place.

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