The kids are off school and the family is coming to visit. The office has closed down for a couple of weeks, however, business doesn't take a holiday. Thankfully, it's a lot easier these days to run your business from home in between the mince pies and sunscreen.
The home office
Most of us have one now, even if it amounts to little more than a laptop and a printer in the corner of the living room. Often that can be all you need to run a business empire, with remote access to online services and cloud platforms.
Thanks to services like Dropbox , Oxygen or Boxx, your business documents are wherever you are. Some services require a login and others automatically sync documents to all approved devices without you needing to think about them. This means you can shut down your office computer on Christmas Eve and simply switch on your home computer on Boxing Day to carry on where you left off. Great for when you forget to finish the report you'll need for that important meeting on January 2nd.
The mobile office
Naturally, mobile technology has made running a business from home a far more viable option in recent times. As long as your laptop, smartphone or tablet has a Wi-Fi or mobile signal, you can still check email, process orders and update the website in between flipping burgers at the park.
Most business software now comes with a handy mobile app as well. All it takes is the right suite of apps and you can access and manage many of the same tasks as you could in the office. Some platforms, like Xero accounting software, are designed to work seamlessly across devices. As all the information is stored in the cloud, it is accessible from anywhere using the same levels of encryption employed by internet banking. You can process invoices and check your expenses before anyone notices the sausages are burning.
Sometimes it's only when an emergency happens while on holiday that you realise you don't have the contact details for the people you need to resolve it. It's no good having everyone's office phone number stored in your phone if they're on holiday like you. Make sure everyone is clear about who is on call and how to get in contact should problems arise.
It can also be helpful to transfer certain office phone lines to the corresponding mobile, so important enquiries reach the right people. Of course, only do this if it is necessary. Not every phone call to your office is urgent. Most can probably wait until January.
Remember you're on holiday
Modern technology allows us to be connected to our business 24/7. That doesn't mean you should run your business from home every minute of the holidays when there are other valuable things to be doing - like spending quality time with the family.
Let some of those calls go to voicemail and respond to them when the time suits you. Limit how often you check email each day. Avoid the temptation to do work that can wait until you return from leave. Decide what tasks are most necessary to keep the business running and stick to those.
It's called the holiday period for a reason.
This article represents the views of the author only and not those of American Express.
Jonathan has worked within, and written about, the technology industry for many years. Before going freelance as a writer in 2012, Jonathan had worked for Netregistry (web hosting) and Ninefold (cloud computing). Jonathan has won awards for his articles on online business for Nett Magazine and his over-opinionated blog Atomik Soapbox. He continues to write for Chief Content Officer magazine.