It’s that time of year when most of us are winding down from work and looking forward to a well-deserved break. December 25 means spending time with family and friends, and gathering around a Christmas roast. In New Zealand, the end of the year might mean a longer break than usual over the summer period. Some of us might be staying home, going camping or cycling, discovering new places around the country or revisiting familiar spots. Others might be getting on a plane, exploring new cities and continents.

If you own a business, it may be that you’re closing shop over the coming weeks. Many of your clients too might be on leave, heading for the beaches or the hills, making the most of the outdoors and the people they care about. This is your opportunity too, a chance to kick back and enjoy a well-deserved break.

Or is it? As a business, how much of a presence do you need to maintain over the Christmas period? How visible do you need to be? And what do you need to communicate to ensure you don’t fall behind?

It may be that even during this quiet period you need to be available and responsive to your clients. You may need to demonstrate that their needs are still being met. If they are still in business, then so must you be.

If your business is communications, you may find that it’s important to stay on top of what is happening in the world. A good communications professional must remain attuned to developments in the fields they are involved in. That means reading and researching, and keeping an eye on headlines. It might mean a few lunches and phone calls, or an ongoing presence on social media.

Working over this holiday period can be challenging. Firstly, there are social obligations to be met. Relatives coming to stay, the expectation of Christmas cheer, and all the while you may be trying to get a job done. Meanwhile, not everyone can be reached, responses can be slow as others are on leave, and you yourself may be trying to meet a demanding workload with a skeleton crew of staff who may be feeling less motivated than usual, with their minds on upcoming holidays.

For some of us, this Christmas break will require some juggling. We may find ourselves having to take a deep breath, before heading into the office or sitting down to a festive meal. Keeping communication channels open means remaining attuned to the needs of our businesses, our clients and customers. It also means making time for our families and friends, at a time of year when those who are left alone can feel particularly isolated.

The important thing is to maintain some kind of balance. This holiday season, no matter what our obligations are, let’s also remember to give ourselves a break. This is a time to unwind a little. We’ve earned it.