Depending on your industry sector, you may or may not be gearing up to an especially hectic year-end. But whatever the nature of your work, doing business during the festive season can be tricky, says Kirsten Morgendaal, area director South Africa for Regus.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is one of the most effective ways to fuel long-term productivity yet the two can often conflict and at no time is this more apparent than Christmas.

This year will be especially challenging and the calendar’s to blame: Christmas Day will fall on a Wednesday and New Year’s Eve the following Tuesday. Employers may think wistfully back to 2011 when both occasions fell on weekends – meaning all hands could be on deck for the interim week – but this year, there will be more pressure to get the job done in fewer days, especially if you decide to take additional leave.

Thanks to laptops and mobile devices, we’re always “on” so how do you reduce the chances of being disturbed over the holiday? Here are a few tips to help you get through the season and keep both your boss – and family – happy.

Be prepared and don’t schedule more than you can sensibly fit into your calendar. In recent years, a number of Regus surveys have revealed that while about a third of business people will go to the office during the festive season, their levels of productivity are expected to be low so set clear and realistic objectives ahead of time.

Productivity does not have to fall if you structure the team and workload to cover all bases before the office breaks up. Colm Sheehy, senior economist at the Centre of Economics and Business Research adds: “The boundaries of work and leisure are no longer clearly defined by the office. Being able to send that extra email might mean you don’t need to go back into work.”

Consider your commute and the impact that has on your working day. Those who make the effort to travel to work with limited transport options – and in some regions adverse weather conditions – could benefit from using a location closer to home.

While lots of coffee shops offer free WiFi, this environment does not suit everyone. Instead, locate your nearest business lounge or rent a day office. Cutting your commute will ensure the job gets done and you can still meet your other commitments, without worrying about the traffic.

After a festive two-day break, how many people will return to the office on Friday 27 December? If the majority of your colleagues have taken the day off, encourage the rest to work elsewhere. Not only will flexible working make it more appealing for people to work that day, it will also save on the costs of running your office.

Bills for heating and lighting will be down making you happy, any no doubt your colleagues will appreciate saving on their travel costs.

Adopting more flexible working practices and putting trust in the team means the Christmas period need not be a time of festive feast at the expense of a productivity famine.