We’ve been making our festive plans for months now and have been wondering how we can help local businesses to do the same, so with the inspiration of the 12 days of Christmas, we’ve decided to bring a festive feel to this month's corporate proceedings; A 12 step guide for getting your office ready for the Christmas period:

1: Make sure Secret Santa is organised.
Christmas is an expensive time of year for everyone and the prospect of having to find small tokens of thanks for the office (no matter how small the office or the token of thanks) can soon be a costly business! By pairing off for Secret Santa you can make the gift giving that bit easier while making sure everyone gets into the spirit of things.

2: Give Back to the Community.
Have a collection either among staff or out in the customer facing areas of your office. Christmas is a lovely time of year to engage with local charities and not for profits in your local area.

3: Make sure your CCTV is functioning.
Configuring an IP CCTV camera is ideal for the festive period. Save yourself a trip down to the office to check on things over the festive period by logging in to check the live feed from your sofa at home... Better yet share the live feed with a chosen few and have them check in periodically too.

4: Make sure decorations are up and firmly secured.
Yes that massive gaudy tinselly monstrosity of a decoration that lives in the store cupboard 11 months of the year looks great now - but trust us - the flimsy positioning between the ceiling tiles won’t be so funny when you’re called in over the festive period to turn off the burglar alarm it set off when it came cascading to the ground! Make sure any decorations are going nowhere before you lock up.

5: Consider setting up call forwarding.
Got a call scheduled that you really can’t afford to miss but have somewhere better to be than the office? Whether it’s the kids’ Christmas play or a chance to get the sofa to yourself, using phone system technology from Gemini you can forward calls to your mobile to take calls anywhere you like.

6: Confirm opening hours with your customers.
Don’t lose out on business just because people don’t know when you’ll be back from your Christmas holidays. A simple note stuck to the door may suffice but updating your website, social media and out of office email responses are best practice.

7: Check the office fridge.
Obviously you need to make sure that there’s no half bottles of milk tucked in the back of the fridge that’ll turn to cheese while you’re away. You can also use this one time of the year when the fridge isn’t in constant use to do a deep clean - thoroughly empty the fridge, switch it off and give it a thorough clean before you start the new year.

8: Print out custom Christmas cards for your clients. 
Show your customers you value their custom by sending them a Christmas card. Be sure to include your contact details to make it easier to communicate in the new year. Print your own in house cards using a Gemini installed printer and you could save yourself some time and money too!

9: Appoint Christmas contact(s).
Unforeseen circumstances wouldn’t be unforeseen if we could plan for all of them. One thing you must do is make sure everyone knows who the official problem solver on each given day of the holidays is. Include mobile numbers, emails and all the contact details you can so that if something were to go wrong while you are out of the office- it is clear to everyone who the appointed rapid response for that day is.

10: Prepare for the end of 2016/start of 2017.
2016 has been a long crazy year, but making sure the office is 100% ready to set off in 2017 is crucial. Utilise the energy and optimism of the new year to really get your business off to a flying start. Begin 2017 with a call to Gemini to see how they can help streamline and support your business throughout the year.

11: Check your recorded voicemail message.
Letting the phone go to voicemail over Christmas is not just fine- it’s expected. If you’ve got a mouthful of mince pie and advent calendar chocolates it’s best for everyone if you wait until a more convenient time. It is however important to re-record your out of office voicemail to let people know when you’ll be back in the office and able to return calls. While you’re at it why not plan your message for 2017 so you can update it upon your return in the New Year?

12: Have a good one from Gemini!
With all of the prep out of the way there’s nothing left to do but crack open your favourite tipple and have a fantastic Christmas! Best wishes to you and your family from everyone here at Gemini. Have an amazing Christmas time and we look forward to hearing from you and your business in 2017.

For more information on how we can help you and your business, contact us here.

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Gemini Communications Ltd is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered office: 11 Petteril Side, Harraby Green Business Park, Harraby, Carlisle, Cumbria CA1 2SQ. Registered number: 05245581