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How to Make the Most of the Holiday Season Downtime

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Winter’s arrival marks a season known for weather changes and holidays. Still, even as the world enters hibernation, you have a plateful of things undone and a lot to catch up on.

Here are four tips for making the season a bell ringer for your construction business. 

1. Getting Ahead

If you’ve planned well and haven’t encountered a number of surprises along the way, you have your projects running like clockwork. You’re on schedule or running ahead. Your crews are on autopilot, knocking out the work ahead of time and at the required quality. In fact, you realize that if everything continues as it is, you’ll be able to give people some time away from the normal schedule during the holiday period.

Nature takes a break in winter, so there’s no reason you and yours can’t either. So, enjoy the free time and give your crews a break too.

2. A Flush Cash Flow

It’s always nice to look ahead at the pending receivables and know there’s enough coming in to cover expenses, and then some. You didn’t get in that position through wishful thinking—it must have taken hard work and focus. But, as cash is a fleeting thing, why not make it work hard for you? 

It might be time to replace equipment or embrace new technology. You could get rid of the debt. Do some of your employees deserve bonuses? Perhaps it’s the time to get that property you’ve had your eye on so that you can improve and turn it for a profit? Think about how you can best use your strong financial position to build a stronger team, improve your current operations or expand them.

3. A Well-Planned New Year

This is a perfect time of year to crack open the business plan and do a sanity check. Are you on track to meet your goals? Do you have the right plans in place for the coming year? What does your tax picture look like? Do you need a few more business deductions? If so, what can you pick up now that will benefit your business plan?

Business continuity is another issue to consider. How well does your current staff match your upcoming needs? Do any of your key people require more training or new roles? If you run a family business, are your heirs in tune with the business plans? Is everyone still on the same page with your exit strategy when it’s time to retire?

You can build peace of mind for yourself when you take care of all the little details that need your attention before they need your attention. Plus, you’ll keep them from cropping up as problems in the busy times.

4. The Benefits of Downtime

Evidence supports the claim that taking time away from work is good for you. For instance, it can lead to improving both your mental and physical health. Some entrepreneurs report productivity gains. Others say you’ll be happier and reduce your stress levels. If they’re all at least 50 percent right, then this time of year presents a perfect opportunity to try it out for yourself. 

What better time to test the value of vacation than during these months with multiple holidays, cold weather and darkness descending in the late afternoon? Time seems to slow down as business schedules ease up to allow the changing of the business years. All this means is it’s a perfect time to take time away from work.

Consider spending your time on activities that are important to you. You might revisit a hobby you’ve put on hold. There might be a trip you’ve been putting off indefinitely. Perhaps you’d just like to wake up and see where the day takes you. If you don’t think you can take time off, that’s a warning sign.

Have you fallen into the trap of working all the time because nobody can fill your shoes? Are you the only one who can troubleshoot problems?

If there’s more than just you in your company, it might pay to start training others to fill in for you. You might even groom a second-in-command to pick up the slack whenever your away. 

If you’re a one-person company, you have more control than you might think. First, plan your vacations and time away from work. Put them right on the calendar. Then, find ways to schedule jobs so they don’t interfere with those dates. 

Give bids and estimates based on expected start dates that don’t bump your planned vacation or time away. It might seem difficult at first. However, it does get easier; you just need to start considering your vacation and times away as equally important as any other aspect of your business.

There is a lot of truth in the saying that you can’t be good for others if you’re not good to yourself. This is a perfect season to test that out.

If you liked this article, here are a few eBookswebinars, and case studies you may enjoy:

How to Grow Your Business

Growing an Organic Workforce in the Skilled Trades

Frampton Construction Study


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2 thoughts on “How to Make the Most of the Holiday Season Downtime

  1. I always love the end of the year as it’s typically slow the month of December and it’s a great time to wrap up projects/close things out, as well as set yourself up for the upcoming year and get ahead on projects if possible on the administrative side (e.g. build T&D delivery schedules, refine estimates, etc.).

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