The year is quickly wrapping up, and it's almost time to clock off.

You’ve finally arrived at the last day of work before Christmas. Whether you’re looking forward to a well-deserved break or you’re dreading the thought of leaving all your tasks behind, there are plenty of things you can do to make the most out of this important day.

From making sure all your loose ends are tied up to enjoying some good cheer with colleagues, it should be a day worth savouring. Taking time off over the Christmas period is a blessing, but you don’t want to come back to chaos, with piles of unread emails and unhappy customers kicking off.

So here are some essential things to do before your Christmas break to make sure things don’t fall apart while you’re away.

1) Make sure someone else can do your job

Not to the extent that you could be replaced, of course. But someone has to keep the ship sailing while you’re gone. You don’t want to get a frantic email on Christmas Eve begging you to come to the office to fix something.

Whatever the most important thing you do is, (or whatever would cost the most money if you didn’t do it) it needs to be handed over to a competent and willing colleague.

To do that, you need to tell them what they need to know. So if it's software based, give them screenshots - you can use Chrome plugins to capture entire web pages, then annotate the important bits. Or use Tango to automatically make software walkthroughs and how-tos for you.

Or if it's more complicated, record it! You could record a video in a few minutes - much easier than typing a load of instructions.

Failing that, sit your coworker down next to you and walk them through it, having them take notes along the way. Make sure any systems that need accessing are available, too: Privnote is useful for sharing passwords securely.

A show of appreciation is nice, too, for keeping everyone happy - maybe a small gift, or a promise to help them in future.

2) Let coworkers know when you’ll be gone

It’s important to remind your coworkers that you’ll be away. Not just that you’ll be out of the office, but also that you’ll be unavailable and not checking emails (if you’re using Timetastic to manage staff absence, your managers and colleagues can simply check the wall chart to see if you’re around or not).

A friendly email or Slack message with a festive greeting is a nice way to do it. Try not to leave it until your last working day, though, in case someone has something outstanding they need your help with.

As well as these, your email out-of-office auto-response is important - make sure to include the date you'll be back and an emergency contact too.

3) Clean your work environment

Before you leave your office, it's nice to do a bit of housekeeping. File away the paperwork, sweep up the biscuit crumbs and clean out the coffee mugs. Not only will this keep your colleagues happy, it'll give you a nice work environment to return to in the new year and help you get back into the swing of things.

During the last week of work, there’s a good chance you’ll have your Christmas party too – if it started in the office before heading out on the town, there’ll be empty drinks bottles all over the place. Even if you have a cleaner, nobody likes dealing with that – get everyone to whizz round for a few minutes and it’ll be done in no time.

And if there’s a fridge in your office, make sure you empty out your stuff. Nobody wants to come back to a pork pie that’s festered so badly it’s almost grown legs.

4) Relax and reflect

Finally, remember to actually go on leave. You should spend your holiday entitlement as you wish – annual leave is your best chance to recharge your batteries properly.

At this time of year, wrapping up what you’ve been through, it’s a good time to have a quick reviews of your annual leave through the year, too. Was a single weeks’ holiday enough at Easter? Should you have extended that bank holiday and taken a longer break? Is your only chance to relax at 4pm on Christmas Day?

Think about how you allocated your paid holiday leave through the year and consider changing things up if it didn’t work for you.

And then it’s time to actually take your break. The day after your final working day of the year, remember to relax, turn your phone off, and spend some time with your loved ones. Enjoy your Christmas holidays, New Year’s celebrations, Hanukkah, Vetrnaetr, or whichever events you celebrate over the festive season.

You might also consider taking an hour or so to reflect on the past year. What’s happened in your personal life? How about professionally? Have you managed to achieve your goals, or was it just a case of surviving a difficult time? However the year’s gone for you, it’s a nice opportunity to think about how you’ve done and what you’re planning for next year.

As we’ve mentioned before, rest is more important than we give it credit for, and you’ll come back refreshed and ready to rock. Enjoy it!  

Feature Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash