The holiday season is upon us. Shades of red and green are taking over stores, the air is filled with Christmas carols and companies around the country are offering a range of end-of-year specials in the hopes of finishing 2015 on a financial high.
What are Australians' work habits like over the Christmas period?
The holiday season also sees many companies encouraging employees to take annual leave. Why? As Mark Ritchie, workplace relations consultant at the Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry explained, it boils down to businesses wanting to minimise financial risk.
|Australians have accrued more than 123 million days of annual leave.|
''What we're seeing with members generally [is] that they're doing all they can to reduce the leave liabilities and overheads in their business as an alternative to redundancies,'' said Mr Ritchie, as quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Despite feeling the pressure to take a break, Australians have still managed to accrue a staggering amount of paid leave. In fact, the country's workforce has collectively stacked up more than 123 million days of annual leave, according to figures collated by Roy Morgan. The financial value of this leave is difficult to determine, but it's easy to see why businesses are looking for ways to reduce the number of outstanding holidays owed.
How can you keep in touch with clients while on holiday?
Stay on top of critical issues over the Christmas period, no matter where you might be.
Regardless of whether you'll be encouraging staff members to use their annual leave or not, it's highly likely that you yourself will be looking to take some time off over the Christmas period. Of course, this is your time to relax and enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation, but many conscientious decision makers will also want to keep tabs on their work and stay abreast of any critical issues that may arise.
Technology such as hosted phone systems can help you achieve this. By making use of cloud-based communication, you'll be able to stay in contact with both your peers and clients, regardless of where these parties may be located. Features such as chat, one-touch voicemail and the ability to make calls from multiple devices while using your office number offers a seamless transition that will allow you to continue to provide quality service - whether you're at home with the family or on a beach in Bali.
Why is it important to stay connected over Christmas?
Nobody wants to be glued to their device during time off, but the fact of the matter is that business doesn't stop for the holidays. While it's true that many companies will wind down over Christmas, for some it's the busiest time of year. In fact, in 2014, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) estimated that shoppers splurged around $45 billion in the 10 days preceding Christmas. While many industries were predicted to feel the effects of the holiday shopping trend, ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman explained that the spending was likely to be largely concentrated around the hospitality and retail sectors.
|Australian shoppers spent around $45 billion in the 10 days preceding Christmas.|
"We are expecting the hospitality, food and household goods categories to experience higher levels of growth this Christmas than apparel," surmised Mr Zimmerman.
"This comes as no surprise as department stores and clothing, footwear and personal accessories usually rely on last minute Christmas promotions for any significant growth in sales during the festive season," he said.
If you're involved in these bustling industries, it's essential that you're contactable by employees to ensure that things run smoothly during the Christmas period and that staff members have the support they need to deal with the rush. Leaders who are able to stay in touch via cloud-based business phone systems may be better poised to help their company take advantage of the nationwide spending spree, and boost their profits accordingly.
The busy Christmas season is an excellent opportunity for businesses to boost sales.
While restaurants and shopping malls are going to be particularly busy over Christmas, Destination CRM noted that call centres also typically see a big spike in demand in this period. Perhaps this isn't too surprising - after all, a lot of people will be receiving gifts that may require phone-based customer service for installation, support, repairs, inquiries and so on.
A hosted private branch exchange (PBX) may allow call centres to better cope with the increase in demand, as the technology enables decision makers to easily monitor call volume, add seats on the fly and increase operational capacity in response to demand.
What's the bottom line?
In summary, the lead up to Christmas is a busy time of year for businesses across myriad sectors. While this means that there's an excellent opportunity for companies to boost sales, they need to ensure their enterprise communications systems are up to the challenge.