The 2015 Chinese New Year is around the corner, and this time we celebrate the year of the sheep. At PTL Group, we start to get busy on preparations and To-Do Lists come in handy. Therefore, we’d like to share 15 tips that could be helpful in wrapping up the Year of the Horse with precision, and welcoming in the docile sheep.
From Administration to Finances, in China, from December until May we prepare for closure, but this time we get ready to close the office for seven days. Here are the 15 tips:
1. Prepare to send out your corporate Chinese New Year greeting cards. This takes a good month of work; either in-house or outsourced. Ideally your card needs to be ready to be sent out by February 2nd -4th allowing time for the mail service to deliver to final destination across China; it could take from 2 to 5 days. This year based on the lunar calendar we celebrate CNY on February 18th-20th, so you’d like to greet your friends before they wrap up to rejoice with family. Every year we ask ourselves, when would people be off work? The answer varies from city to city, company to company, and it’s based on policy and how far the staff is from home.
2. Remind your team to set their out-of-office auto reply. This is important to let everyone else know when they will be back.
3. The entire country is celebrating Chinese New Year, and port authorities are no exception. If you are purchasing, exporting and managing inventory in China, keep in mind customs officers. We strongly urge our clients to send a note to their home offices and their own clients with China’s CNY calendar. Also, it’s helpful to include logistics contingency suggestions so they can organize the shipping agenda, production plan, and sales forecast with this year’s dates. You are welcome to download the PTL Group 2015 calendar here.
4. Ensure mechanisms are in place so your goods reach the client before February 16th. And when sending goods to China, schedule the last day for shipping to arrive by February 6th at the latest. Even if your goods arrive to China within the week prior to CNY Eve, most likely they will be released after CNY and storage will cost you a good amount of money.
5. Brand your end of year logistics agenda to inform all parties involved locally about your last working day. It is a good way to refresh your identity in the eyes of your network before holidays.
6. In case of an emergency, set a plan or mechanism to activate beforehand. Hold a meeting to share this plan with the team before the holiday spirit arrives.
7. As it is an expected tradition in China, the 13th month pay or red envelope (红包) is something that follows a company’s policy. Check with your HR department for what corresponds and include this extra sum in your team’s February salary on regular payroll. It might also be expected to be received a few days prior to the holiday, or at the company dinner - around Feb 12th would be a safe estimation. Afraid your team won’t come back after the bonus pay? That’s a topic for another article.
8. Company dinners get city venues busy with lots of preparation required to entertain and award your team. Assign someone to assist with this task, make a reservation - and do it soon.
9. Book these dates, both holiday and working times have been announced. This year, February 18th to 24th corresponds to celebrating the Year of the Sheep. February 15th -17th and the 28th are working days that are “pre-payment” for future holidays.
10. In case your company in China intends to follow a more normalized work schedule, keep in mind that February 18th - 20th are considered holidays, so triple payment shall be arranged per each day worked.
11. As it is tradition for Chinese families, these days of festivities signify joy, gift-giving, eating and drinking. But what to bring when invited? A basket of fruits for the elders and a red envelope for the youngest of the family with a few RMB notes inside.
12. What to expect at such gathering? Family, friends and a cozy environment where food will be served and fireworks will be lit.
13. When in China, expect congestion around the main public transportation areas. Airports, train stations and main bus hubs become the most crowded places to be while everyone travels to reach to their destinations. Book train seats and flights in advance since it might not be possible to find availability. Prepare for earlier arrivals for check in to avoid disappointment.
14. When abroad, expect China to be quiet and calm until the end of February; most likely, your Chinese counterparts will be back in the office by February 28th.
15. Last but not least, embrace the Year of the Sheep. And, if you happen to be born in 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, or 2003, 2015 is your year; so don’t forget to wear a red bracelet for luck and tradition.