The season is upon us once again when every weekend is filled with reunions, parties and dinners. You’re seeing old friends and getting all the family back together again, maybe for the first time since the last holiday period. Hopefully, you’ve managed to keep in touch , but we all know that striking a healthy balance between your commitment to your work and the time dedicated to your family is always a tricky area.

Thankfully, the situation is improving for a lot of people. A general trend towards more flexible work structures, the work of pioneers like Vanessa Tierney and the increasing availability of technology to facilitate remote work mean that more and more people are able to carry out some of their professional duties from home, surrounded by family. And it doesn’t even need to cut into your festive budget! Thanks to conference call bridges like WHYPAY? you can get pretty much unlimited conference calls without it costing you a single penny. Just click onto the homepage and hit the Big Green Button to generate your very own free conference call room! Because WHYPAY? uses 03 numbers, calls are included within the bundled minutes that come in your phone contract, so you won’t incur any extra charges for checking in with the office multiple times a day.

That means that you don’t need to skip out on Christmas parties or miss your child’s performance in the school Nativity. With the immense powers of conference calling allowing you to pick up the phone and chat with all of your co-workers from each of your festively decorated living rooms, as well as emails, IM, the Cloud and the countless other ways we have developed of keeping in touch, you can stay on top of your workload without having to be in the office.

This will not only be much more pleasant for you, but avoid an awkward and upsetting conversation with your partner or children as you try to explain your absence at important festive events.

Of course, you still need to keep the balance healthy. Just because you can work from home doesn’t mean that you should feel compelled to be constantly busy. The idea is to get a chance to enjoy the revelry with your loved ones, but having work just a couple of taps away can create a surprisingly strong temptation to stay constantly logged in. In fact, a whopping one-third of workers are estimated to be working remotely on Christmas Day, and almost half of them on Christmas Eve. That’s why most people could really benefit from drawing up a detailed schedule for December.

It doesn’t sound like a very festive attitude to have, but there’s no doubt you’ll be grateful for it later. As well as helping you to keep on top of your holiday shopping, it will help to ensure that you really are finding a balance between work and home. Pencil in your firm commitments first, and block those out as hours dedicated entirely to leisure – this should probably include the actual Bank Holidays themselves. That means no work, no emailing, no conference calls. Make sure you also make a note of key events that will be happening in the office and the amount of hours or extra work that these might need. Iron out any clashes and think about where compromise will have to happen, and when you might need to prepare for presentations or meetings a few extra days in advance.

After all, although the holiday period is about your loved ones, if you forget about work altogether you will have a huge, horrible pile of work to catch up on when you head back into the office already fatigued from the festivities. Even worse, it will discourage your employers from being more flexible with remote working, something which many managers continue to feel nervous about.

The key to pulling off a festive period which ends with success in your work life and your family life is prior preparation and a commitment to organisation. Find out exactly what is planned and create a list of people you need to see and when you can see them. Make your schedule and stick to it as much as possible, and there’s no reason why you won’t be able to spread peace and goodwill to your bosses and to your loved ones!