How to set up your IT for the holidays

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Centrix HolidaysBefore you turn on your ‘out of office’ message and shut down your computer to enjoy some time off this holiday season, it’s important to prepare your IT so it remains “business as usual”.

Your clients will still expect a high level of customer service should they need it, so you need to make sure your IT continues to run smoothly. The good news is, technology means we can now automate, systemise or build processes to keep a business operating smoothly even whilst we’re away from work. Here’s our tips for keeping your IT running well whilst you enjoy a break:

  • Clearly communicate to people that you’ll be out of the office. Set-up an email autoresponder and/or post a message/announcement on your social media account(s), advising clients and suppliers that you are on leave and how to get help should they need it whilst you’re away.
  • Ensure customers can still get a basic level of assistance whilst you’re away. To do this, you can write up answers to commonly asked questions and post on your website’s FAQ page, or create a skeletal staff that will handle all customer issues remotely.
  • Tighten business security for the holiday period. Cyber criminals usually strike during this time of the year, when everyone’s too busy with something else. Secure your business and your customers’ data by making sure everything is patched and updated.

You can also automate a raft of other functions in your business so you can have a worry-free holiday. Here are simple tools you can use: 

1. Schedule your blog posts/Newsletter. Updating your blog whilst you’re halfway around the world is possible with the right tools. WordPress allows you to schedule in advance upcoming blog posts. Hubspot also offers the same functionality. Just create a blog post as usual then select the date and time that you want the post to be published. If you don’t want to leave visitors’ comments hanging, you can temporarily turn off the comments feature. 

Centrix - WP schedule

Create newsletters or events announcements in advance using Mailchimp and set the time and day you want them to go out. 

2. Schedule your social media posts. If you’re using social media in your business you should be using a social media tool or dashboard such as Hootsuite or Buffer. These tools allow you to post content to multiple accounts with just one click. No need to login to your accounts separately. You can also create posts and schedule them to publish on your page(s) in the future. If you only maintain a Facebook or Twitter account, both platforms allow the scheduling of posts for future delivery directly through those sites. 

Centrix - FB schedule post

3. Automate your invoices. It is possible to automate regular or recurring invoices, including those you might send in bulk. Use cloud accounting software such as Xero where you can log in and check up on your finances wherever you are. You can even make payments and reconcile your accounts to ensure that your cashflow remains consistent whilst you’re away. 

4. Store critical files in the cloud. If you’re not doing it yet, it would be wise to store some of your business critical files in the cloud (e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive) so you and your authorised staff can access them anywhere. 

5. Assign tasks and to-dos. Trello is a great collaborative productivity tool you and your team can use. You can easily assign users to each task, and each task can be broken down into a checklist. You can also attach files, labels, and set deadlines.  

Finally, don’t forget to instruct your IT team to make sure that your website is optimised for mobile. Keep in mind that many of your visitors will likely access your site from their smartphones or tablets whilst they are also away from their desktops. Being at the right place at the right time is one way of pulling ahead of your competition.

Taking holidays doesn’t have to mean your business will also have to slow down. Take the necessary steps to ensure no one interrupts that important time at the beach.