How to Take Time Off for the Holidays in Your PR AgencyDec 13, 2021
The holiday season is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding times of the whole year! But is it actually possible to take time off from your PR agency over the holidays—and how do you do it the right way?
One of the main reasons that people get into PR is to have the freedom and flexibility to enjoy time with family and friends, especially during the holidays.
But with a to-do list that feels miles long (and feeling overwhelmed when you’re working on a retainer), is it even possible to take time off from your PR agency over the holidays? Even more importantly, how do you actually take time off the right way (without creating tons of stress for yourself, your team, or your clients)?
How To Prepare Your Clients For The Fact That You’re Going To Take Time Off
There are a lot of ways to make the process of taking time off more seamless. Let’s start off by going over some of the ways you can prepare your clients for the fact that you’re going to take time off during the holidays!
Don’t Be Afraid To Take Time Off For The Holidays!
It’s your company! And a huge reason why you started your agency is so that you could have the flexibility and freedom to take time off when you want to. It’s reasonable and expected, so you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
Remember, you’re not working hourly—you’re working around meeting that month’s goals!
Even if you’re on retainer and take time off, you can still make really good use of that time during the holidays.
When you broach the subject with your clients, they may not understand this. So you might want to update them on all the things you’ve done to wrap up the year on a high note. Also share anything you’re doing to prepare for the year ahead, so that they know you’re ready to start the year with a bang right after the holidays.
You’ll want to start preparing for next year well in advance so that clients feel like you’re super on top of it. One of the best ways to do this is to schedule an annual strategy planning session with your clients in November or December so you can ensure you are taking an active role in helping them plan and prepare for success next year.
You can also make this process easier when it comes time for the holidays by setting expectations upfront. Make sure to discuss holidays during your onboarding or include details on time off in your client welcome kit so that they are briefed on your plans well in advance.
How Much Time Should You Take Off?
This is totally up to you (especially if you have the support of your team members to rely on). But most clients will think it’s completely reasonable to take the week off between Christmas & New Years Day!
Clients typically close their offices during this time anyway and, in most industries, it’s understood to be a dark or out-of-office time. I honestly wouldn’t even make a big deal out of it to your clients—acknowledge it, but know that it’s likely what they expect anyway.
If you yourself (as the CEO of your agency) want to take more time off, have your team ready to support you with that so that clients don’t feel like they’re missing out on the services they’re paying for.
Related: What Is It Like to Be a PR Agency Owner?
Give Your Clients Plenty of Notice
Consider sending out an email announcement in early November to give your clients a list of the upcoming dates that you will be out of the office. This lets you show your preparedness and gives you a chance to frame your time off.
You can explain that when you take time off, you’re working ahead now so that they won’t experience any interruption in service. Clarify what being out-of-office means (not answering emails, etc). You’ll also want to be clear about which days you are taking off and when you will be back.
Set Expectations & Have Clear Communication
One really helpful thing to do as you prepare to take time off is to set client expectations. Especially if the idea of taking time off makes you nervous, having clear communication with your clients about the details of this is important.
Clients don’t want to feel like they’re wasting money, but clear communication really does solve most problems before they begin!
Share with them what you are planning to do during or before the holidays, and why certain things can successfully wait until after the new year. For example, make sure you explain that news outlets and editors often take holidays off as well. Because of that, pitching during this time isn’t as effective and would be a waste of time (unless it’s breaking news). For this same reason, launching a new product during this time isn’t advisable, and you can try and steer them in a different direction if they have plans to do that.
If you do social and need to maintain an active presence even over the holidays, you can come at it from a team-based approach and divide up the work. You can also schedule a lot of posts in advance! Be upfront with clients about how their social presence will be affected, like if you’ll only be monitoring social during certain hours and give them the option to backfill with someone on their team.
How To Prepare Your Team For The Fact That You’re Going To Take Time Off
Now that we’ve talked about how to prepare your clients when you’re going to take time off, let’s pivot and talk about your team.
It’s really important to give your team that valuable time off, but it’s also important to make sure everything gets done when it needs to in order to be stress-free while you’re off.
If you are working with contractors, make THEM aware of when the agency is off. Ask your team members to let you know if their plans for taking time off conflict with that so you can make plans to address that.
If you do have things that your team will need to start working ahead on, start earlier than you think you need to (like early or mid-November) to make sure that everything that needs to get done gets done in advance.
Make sure to get all of your pitches and follow-ups done before you take that time off and consider communicating to your clients that that’s what you’ll be doing.
Be Positive About Taking Time Off
Let your team know what your agency’s holiday dates are in advance. But also, focus on how you frame the fact that you’re going to take time off! Make sure your team is aware that you know it’s important that they have a good, relaxing holiday season with their loved ones.
If you’re going to do any sort of agency celebration, do it the last day before everyone’s off for the holidays and send them off with a warm celebration.
Give your team an opportunity to recharge and refresh. Don’t expect anyone to be by their computer over the holidays—remember, it’s your job to foster positive work-life integration.
It’s perfectly normal and healthy to take time off from your PR agency during the holidays. These tips will help you keep the process stress-free for yourself, your clients, and your team so that you can stay festive without any overwhelm.