Many small business owners have a difficult time taking a break from running their business. Fear of missing something important and not being there to make day-to-day decisions often discourages business owners from getting much needed R&R.
Making the case for taking a vacation.
According to one Gallup poll, small business owners who don’t take any vacation days are less satisfied with their standard of living and struggle more to balance their work and personal life. A lack of balance can hinder daily performance and work relationships. Besides, time off is good for you. Taking a vacation can actually improve your health by reducing stress and anxiety, improving mental health and helping your heart stay healthy.
6 Tips to take time off.
Taking a vacation is possible – and necessary – for all small business owners. While it’s not always easy to step away from your business, a little extra planning can help prepare you for a smooth departure.
- Communicate ahead of time. Let clients, customers and your staff know you’re planning a vacation ahead of time. Be clear about what types of issues constitute emergencies (Is the building on fire?) and which can wait (A vendor called about a new product or service offering).
- Set expectations. Let your staff know it’s okay to reach out for the big stuff, but set expectations on how connected you’ll be. Be clear that you won’t be available 24/7 and how to best reach you: for urgent matters, have them call you versus send an email. That way, they’ll expect to reach you when it’s important and you won’t be glued to your email inbox.
- Make a list. Many owners feel responsible for every decision, big and small, about their business. If you feel like you’ve got a lot on your plate each day, make a list of items that are most important, time sensitive and the day-to-day to dos that just need to get done.
- Delegate. Be honest with yourself about what needs your input or approval. Anything on your to-do list that doesn’t, pass it along to a team member to handle in your absence.
- Provide autonomy to make decisions. You can give a ton of instruction before you leave, but you’ll never come up with every ‘what if?’ scenario that could arise. Instead, instill trust in your senior staff. Let them know it’s okay to use their judgement and make some decisions in your absence. Providing autonomy will not only help them grow, but also make it easier for you to hand off responsibilities in the future.
- Set ‘office hours.’ If the thought of unplugging completely is overwhelming, set office hours while you’re away. Tell yourself – and your staff – that you plan to check email and be online and available for 30 minutes at a set time each day. Knowing you’ll be checking in daily will set your mind at ease.
All work and no play may make you feel like you’re getting more done, but never unplugging can actually run you – and your business – down. Instead, treat yourself to some time off. You’ll return relaxed, rejuvenated and ready for a successful summer!