Everyone loves going home during the holiday season. If you’re closing your business for the holidays, what can you do to ensure you don’t come back to a giant mess you’ll have to clean up before you can reopen? Here are some quick and easy preventive maintenance tips to help you prepare for your well-earned time off.
Your first step should be to communicate with your employees, customers and contractors. Let them know which days you will be closing, and when you will return to the office. That way, you don’t have employees showing up to work when the doors are locked or customers who are angry they can’t patronize your business while you’re away for the holidays. If you’ve got any contractors that regularly deliver to you, make sure you let them know when you’re going to be closed as well, so you don’t come back to a pile of packages on your stoop.
Start early and let everyone know when your holiday will be, so no one gets caught flat-footed.
Create a Backup
If you rely on digital data to run your business, now is the perfect time to back it up. Ideally, you should be backing up your information more often, but if you’re going to be leaving the office for an extended period, anything could happen that could damage your data servers. Create at least one backup — either a hard copy you remove from the office while you’re away, or a cloud backup you can access remotely. This way, you won’t have to worry about your data while you’re on vacation, and if something does happen, you’ve got a backup to restore from.
Turn off the Water
Whether you’re expecting a white Christmas or a warm one, the last thing you want to come back to is a busted pipe and the accompanying water damage. If you spring a leak while you’re away, the water will continue to flow until you get back to shut it off. Don’t come back to water damage — instead, shut off the main water valve to your building before you leave.
If you have to leave the water on for whatever reason, you can go through the building and turn off the water at different locations — fridges, dishwashers, etc. — so if there is a problem, the resulting mess will be smaller.
Shut Down and Unplug
Many electrical devices continue to draw power while they are turned off. Instead of letting these power ghosts drive your electricity bill up, consider unplugging them before you leave. These include computers, dishwashers and other appliances. In addition to reducing your power bill, it can lower your fire risk, since old or unmaintained equipment can quickly start fires.
Unplugging can also save you money in the long run. If you leave your devices plugged in, they are at risk of damage if there is a thunderstorm or power surge. Shutting down and unplugging your electronics protects them so they’ll be ready when you open your doors again after the holiday.
Turn Down the Heat
You don’t need to keep your building at a comfortable 72 degrees while there’s no one in the office. Before you leave for your vacation, turn your heater down — the lower, the better. You want to keep the building warm enough that your pipes won’t freeze, but you don’t need to spend money heating an empty building.
If it’s warm in your neck of the woods over the holidays, turn the A/C up to 85. That way, it won’t get too warm for any electronics that are still in the building.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you can enjoy a well-earned vacation without worrying about what will be waiting for you when you get back to work.