So you’ve finally convinced yourself your business won’t implode if you take a holiday – great! Now you just need ot make sure you do actually switch off when you’re away.
The below are six tips I’ve blatantly stolen from Josh Hall at Simply Business, the online insurance broker specialising in business insurance and public liability insurance for UK small and medium sized businesses.
1. Forward planning is key
Try to plan your break as far ahead as possible. This will give you a chance to get everything done before you go – and ensure that you have as little hanging over you as possible while you are away.
Where practical, try to give yourself a few months’ notice. If you employ others, remember that you may need to co-ordinate your holiday booking. You might also need to warn relevant clients or customers in advance.
2. Don’t kid yourself
Some people think that the only way to switch off on holiday is to take a complete break from work – no email, no phone calls, nothing. In reality, though, this is impractical for most business owners. But by recognising this impracticality, and planning around it, you can help to ensure that you still get a relaxing break.
Be realistic about what you need to do. If you need to check your email in the morning, for example, go for it – just don’t let yourself get sucked into work that can wait until you get back.
It is vitally important that you communicate your holiday plans to the relevant parties. If you are an employer, you will need to make sure that your staff knows what’s going on – and that they are properly equipped to deal with whatever situations might arise while you are away.
If you work personally with customers or clients, you may also need to let them know that you will be unavailable. If you are a contractor or freelancer, remember that you may need to negotiate holiday in advance with your clients.
4. Remember the invoices
Holiday is not a reasonable excuse for the late payment of invoices. If you have outstanding invoices that will come due while you are away, you should make sure that you arrange for them to be paid in advance.
Alternatively, if you are an employer make sure that a trusted member of staff has the authority to make payments on your behalf. Remember that they might need online banking details or a physical payment card in order to do this.
5. Stay in touch
It is an odd fact of life that emergencies do tend to occur at the least opportune times. It is therefore important that you remain contactable while you are away, in order to deal with any particularly pressing problems that might arise.
This might involve keeping your mobile phone on you, or it might just require you to have sporadic email access. Either way, make sure that the relevant people know how to get in touch if the necessity arises.
6. When you return…
There will inevitably be a backlog to deal with when you get back – and you need to address this in a sensible, practical way. Get the firefighting over and done with as quickly as possible, and then try to prioritise in order to ensure that the most pressing concerns are addressed promptly.
Finally, consider conducting the equivalent of a back-to-work with your staff. Have an informal sit-down to go through any issues that may have arisen while you’ve been away, and to ensure that you are aware of any developments. Good luck getting back into the saddle!