02/25/2014 10:29 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Mardi Gras Madness And Getting Down to Business: How to Cope With Business Distractions

It's Mardi Gras time in New Orleans, and keeping businesses focused on, well, actual business can prove to be the ultimate challenge. Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) actually begins on Twelfth Night, January 6, and continues nonstop until the day before Ash Wednesday. The date of Mardi Gras ties to Easter and varies each year. This year Mardi Gras is very late, and January 6 to March 4 is a long time to try to keep even the most diligent worker on task.

For New Orleans, it's Mardi Gras, but each city has its own distractions. Kentucky Derby. Boston Marathon. Super Bowl. Not to mention the record number of snow days most of the nation faced earlier this year. It's a wonder businesses can get anything done.


What's a company to do to steward a vigorous work ethic while valuing the culture that makes its city unique? Apply these tenets to your respective "distraction" and get down to business.

First, acknowledge that there will be diversions. From endless Mardi Gras parties and parades to deciding how you will navigate parade route closures, the carnival season affects everyone in the Big Easy. Conceding that even the best laid plans may be sidetracked will ultimately help you deal with the situation.

Be flexible. Because interruptions are inevitable, if you have the leeway to adjust hours or allow remote officing, your employees will be appreciative and may even exceed your expectations, respecting their responsibilities.

Express your expectations. Discuss the situation with your employees. Yes, it may be Mardi Gras, but there are still plans to be made, deadlines to be met and clients to serve. This may require extra effort once the levity dies down.

Communicate with your clients and vendors. Just as in crisis situations, make sure everyone knows how to reach you and what your company's plans are. While Mardi Gras is a city-wide holiday for most businesses, our employees manage a 24/7 schedule.

Capitalize on the event. Mardi Gras is a signature event for our city, and to that end, we use it in our public relations strategies for our clients. Whether it is carnival postings on social media or sending traditional king cakes to out of town clients, employees can develop strategies to promote products or services.

Let the good times roll! Laissez les bon temps roûler. Mardi Gras is a time of merriment and madness, a time to build teamwork with costume contests, king cake parties and parade watching. While there is work to be done, enjoy the moment and celebrate the city that care forgot ̶ at least for a day.

This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.