Summer is here and that means it’s time for vacation, right? Apparently not. A study released in 2014 revealed that small business owners are generally too time-strapped to take summer vacation, and when they do, most max out at five vacation days a year. According to the study, that is half of what the average U.S. employee takes. Does that mean vacation is a pipe dream for small business owners? No, not at all! This is how you make it work.
Line Up Coverage
Ideally, you will be able to enlist the support of your staff or team so you can delegate work and leave it all behind for a week or two. If this sounds possible in your business, start the planning process as early as you can so you have enough time to provide training, create documentation, and get everyone up to speed on what needs to happen while you are away. Then plan out the entire time you will be out of the office, making sure someone is accountable for each item on your list. If you have enough time in advance, you may even want to do a run-through for a day or two to make sure everyone knows their responsibilities.
Plan a Working Vacation
If you are a one-person shop or just don’t have the team to support 100% delegation, and you simply can’t walk away for a true vacation, you can still take a break in the form of a working vacation. Again, in this situation, planning ahead is key. In the weeks before you leave for vacation, make a schedule that outlines when you will be in work mode and when you will be in vacation mode. Then, share that with your family and office staff so everyone knows the plan.
Leverage Mobile Tools
Whether you’re planning to take a working vacation or you just want to stay in the loop while you are away, you will need to have access to the right tools. This can mean a variety of things, depending on the type of work you plan to do. If you are just planning to call in a few times a day and check email periodically, your mobile phone with the right apps should be enough. On the other hand, if you need to access working documents, meetings, and other in-office tools, you will need to create a mobile office so you can bring your work with you.
Keep Your Clients in the Loop
In order to truly enjoy your vacation, it’s important that you set expectations with clients before you leave. Even if you are planning a working vacation, letting your clients know you will be on vacation can help minimize the interruptions or “emergencies” that you need to handle while you are away. Plus, by keeping your clients informed, you may find that they happily let you have a few days of peace, knowing you will come back refocused and ready to get to work.
Taking time off from your business is vital in order to avoid burnout and remain as productive as possible. The key to taking time off is starting the process well in advance of when you will be away, and creating a plan that you can execute when the time comes.
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