New Telstra research released this week has revealed that only 37 per cent of SMBs will have some sort of break this Christmas period. Here, Doug Stuart, Technical Director of BAE Systems Detica and 2010 Telstra Australian Business Award winner, shares his business plans to keep productivity up this summer whilst helping to ensure his staff are accessible to clients during the Christmas break.

Christmas is a pretty busy time of year for all of us, as we juggle end of year parties, various school functions and family events. Plus we’re trying to squeeze in our Christmas shopping too!

The team here at BAE Systems Detica continues to work hard as the year comes to an end and are aiming to wrap up the majority of our projects so that we can take a well-earned break.

We aim to close our offices for the Christmas break so that we can have everybody refreshed and raring to go when we start back in the New Year.  We plan a two-week shutdown, with only skeleton staff on hand to address any immediate client needs in our offices throughout Australia and as well as our office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Our staff are always on the road visiting clients and consulting with them on their cyber security measures, and testing the systems they have in place. So while we may ‘officially’ close down the offices at Christmas, we will always have team members on standby and readily connected to the network in case a client has a cyber security emergency.

Telstra released research* earlier this week which found that most SMBs will continue to work through the break (with only 37 per cent actually having some time off over Christmas and New Years).  I believe it is possible for our staff to achieve a work-life balance during this time, especially as Telstra’s technology and networks are continually evolving in our favour.

The research also found that 31 per cent of SMBs will experience a drop in productivity over these summer months, with only 16 per cent of businesses saying they have initiatives in place to combat this slump.

One of the ways we keep our staff connected is by issuing each person with a laptop on their first day with the necessary security measures already installed and with the ability to securely connect back to our network when they’re online.

And with the support of a Telstra mobile broadband USB 4G device, these laptops enable our staff to work from home, on the road or on site with a client at ease so they’re not confined to the office. This gives our staff the freedom and flexibility to juggle other important aspects of their lives with their work commitments.

We’re pretty big on making technology work for our staff by giving them flexibility around the technology they use and how they work.

Staff can also choose to use their own mobile phone or have a company issued one. Some staff want to use their personal smartphone for work so we provision the devices with the necessary security measures and network connectivity. This lets everyone in the company have the option of accessing their email when it suits them, without having to carry their laptop around.

Technology has made it easier to implement other office incentives, not only during the Christmas period but all year round. For example, flexible working hours or working from home is easy – staff don’t need to be chained to their desk to get their work done and as long as the client is happy they can work from home or in any environment that best suits the consultant’s needs.

Our clients know they can contact our staff at any time and that there will always be someone there to help them out – and that’s great for our clients too.

*Source: Telstra Smarter Business Monitor, November 2012. The Telstra mobile network offers 4G service in all capital CBDs associated airports and selected regional locations and automatically switches to our fastest available 3G service in other coverage areas around Australia. Check coverage in your area. Image credit: sxc.hu/mst_b, royalty free