The holidays are coming up, which means that many of you are probably planning your annual end-of-the-year vacation. Will you be taking time off to spend at home in front of the fireplace? Or are you jetting off south to escape the cold and find some sunshine?
Whatever you’re doing, you’re likely not working for at least a few days and, potentially, for a week or more. If you own a business and you have to shut down your building, then you have a bit more to plan than just your vacation.
Creating a closing checklist is the most efficient and productive way to shut down your building for the holidays. We’re going to go over a few of the things that need to be on this checklist in order for you to save money, energy, and power.
1. Notify (Almost) Everyone
Your first step is to notify your employees, your customers, and your clients of your building’s closure. This should include exact dates and times that the building will be shut down.
However, be sure to mention that they shouldn’t tell everyone they know that the office or building will be empty on which days. Why? Theft is common around the holidays, especially when thieves know exactly when they’ll be alone in the building. So while you want to notify people, you also don’t want to necessarily advertise that your building when it will be completely empty.
Also on your office closing checklist notifications should be any delivery services, postal services, cleaning services, maintenance services, and your landlord. Set up an email auto-reply and a new voicemail message as well.
2. Check on Fire Alarms and Equipment
Without anyone in the building, if a fire breaks out, you have to rely more heavily on your alarm systems to alert anyone around to an emergency. Before leaving for the break, test all of your fire alarm systems, switch out any batteries, and consider having an electrical technician come and check that everything is working properly.
You can also consider installing fire alarm equipment that will automatically alert the authorities and emergency services when the alarms are triggered so your building will be safe even in the event of a fire when no one is there.
3. Turn Down the Heat
Without anyone in the building, you can turn your heat down in order to save energy and money. You should consider already have a system like this set up year-round with an energy management system that adjusts air flow and temperature based on time of day and number of occupants.
Adjust the settings so when the building is shut down, the heat sits at a much lower temperature in order to reduce unnecessary energy use. Make sure you keep it on, though, to keep the system flowing — you don’t want to come back to any broken pipes!
4. Unplug Appliances Wherever Possible
Along that same train of thought, you should unplug any and all appliances that don’t need to stay powered on. Shutting things down isn’t always enough. “Vampire Appliances” are appliances that suck up and use energy when they are off but plugged in. This can use hundreds or thousands of dollars of energy by just staying plugged in.
Huge offenders include:
- Things that turn on with a remote control
Not everything can (or should) be unplugged, but equipment and appliances that don’t have to stay on in your absence can save you a lot on energy costs.
Another benefit of unplugging equipment and appliances during your closing checklist process is that it reduces the risk of electrical fire.
5. Set Up Timed Lights
Remember in Home Alone how many of the houses had timed lights to make it appear that people were home to avoid burglary? They actually had the right idea.
Timed evening lights in your building during a holiday break make it appear there are occupants, which can reduce the risk of burglary or theft. This also means that you won’t have to keep lights on all the time, which wastes power and money.
6. Check on and/or Install Security Measures
We’ve mentioned theft a few times, and that’s not something you should take lightly. The holidays are a prime time for commercial theft, so taking steps to prevent that risk for your building is essential.
Check and make sure that any security or alarm systems are working properly. This includes security cameras, locks, alarms, and more. This can also help you monitor the building for any emergencies while you’re away.
7. Backups and Data Protection
Before you unplug your computers and modems, you’ll want to backup all of your data. If you cannot unplug your computers, it’s even more essential to back up your servers and data. Imagine if there’s an emergency, a disaster, or a power surge: would your important data be safe?
Have a closing checklist and disaster recovery plan in place to ensure your data and information stays safe while the office is closed.
You should also double check your data protection and privacy set up. Cyber breaches are much more likely over holiday breaks because hackers and thieves know that most computers and tech is left unobserved and unmonitored.
Start Planning Your Closing Checklist ASAP
While it might seem a bit too early to be thinking about the holidays, it’s never too early to plan your office closing checklist. Planning ahead reduces confusion and things slipping through the cracks later, which can lead to severe consequences in terms of cost and potential damage.
We can help with a number of items on your closing checklist so you can get back to work. Whether you need your fire alarm system updated or your energy management system looked at, we can help. We can also give you a free energy audit to identify where you can improve in the new year.
Enjoy your time off — you deserve it!