As an entrepreneur or small business owner, or even as a member of a small team in a large organisation, it can be difficult to ‘let it go’ in the Summer. The buck stops with you. How will the business manage without you? Will a huge rush order come in? Will that long-awaited deal you’ve been pursuing come to fruition just when you’re away?
Will my business survive without me?
Well unless you’re planning a six month round-the-world trip, it’s unlikely business will grind to a halt. But it’s obviously not so simple as asking your manager for some annual leave. A little preparation goes a long way. So how should you prepare for a break in the Summer, mentally and physically?
Admit you need a Summer break
1. Acknowledge that you need time off. Corporate burn out is all too real and you can’t give your business your all if you’ve got nothing left. It’s been proven that productivity increases if you have breaks during the day, so give yourself a really good break during the year. Studies have proved that productivity in the workplace drops 20% over the Summer months. And spending time with your partner is equally, if not more, important for your work life balance.
2. Plan in plenty of time. Even if you want to wait to take advantage of a last minute holiday deal, it pays to plan the actual time your business will be affected even if this restricts the availability of deals for you. This way you can let any suppliers and customers know what the effects will be if necessary.
Include your team
3. Whether you are a member of a team or the business owner with a small number of employees, make vacation plans with the whole team in mind so that you can minimise any disruption to the business. Try to be as fair as possible, but also take into account that those with school aged children may be unable to take a family holiday outside of school holiday periods.
4. Plan any backup you may need to continue servicing your clients in your absence. This could vary widely depending on your business but consider every small service that you offer and make sure that all are being covered seamlessly.
Communicate with the client
5. Always tell clients that you are going to be away if they deal with you personally, they will appreciate knowing and we are all understanding about someone taking time off during the Summer. Tell them the dates you will be away and what will be happening in your absence.
6. Decide if you will be business incommunicado or not. There’s a lot to be said for a total break and even a digital detox to get rid of all that stress and just relax. However, if you’re going to be even more stressed by not being able to check in at all, make sure to restrict your email checking to just short periods per day. And if you’re going for the full detox, have a backup ready at home to answer any emergency emails, and set up an automatic reply which will tell your clients why you can’t answer straight away.
7. For a complete digital detox either switch off your phone entirely or swap your sim card into a non-smart enabled phone. That way you can be reached if there really is an emergency or that golden deal comes up trumps. Alternatively you could switch off all emails on your phone, as long as you won’t be tempted to switch them on again while you’re sunning yourself on that beach. This way you won’t be feeling you need to reply to emails which really aren’t urgent.
Stop the noise
8. If you must keep your smartphone at all costs, at least shut off the push notifications for all apps. This way you won’t be disturbed by all those pings and you can have a quick check through at a designated time of your choosing. This will definitely cut down the number of times you check your phone (indeed, there’s a lot to be said for having push notifications turned off all the time!). If you’d like to know more about apps to improve productivity and focus, have a look here.
Do you feel able to book that vacation now? Your business will thank you for it.
Let me know where you decide to go, I’d love to hear from you!