Very few entrepreneurs take what could be considered ‘true’ vacations. While a business owner may leave their office for awhile and visit sunnier climes, they are highly unlikely to truly disconnect from their business – they’ll still check email, field phone calls from employees, and spend a few hours a day engaging in work-related activities while they’re away.
You will likely have experienced the above scenario for yourself, and may even have primarily seen it as a fact of life; a by-product of the decision to start your own business. However, never taking a true vacation can be hugely detrimental and, in the worst case scenarios, can make you more likely to experience burnout. As a result, finding a way to truly take time out from your business is incredibly important – and the tips below should help you to achieve just that.
#1: Plan Your Vacation in Advance
Entrepreneurs, unfortunately, do not have the luxury of spontaneous getaways if they really want to be able to get away. Your vacations will need to be planned far in advance, so you can put measures in place to ensure your business will be able to function as it should without your presence.
When planning, it’s best to focus on the core aspects of your business. For most modern businesses, this means focusing on ensuring your tech works as it should; engage services such as Dyrand’s for IT outsourcing to ensure your network is well-managed, and brief your employees on how tech issues should be dealt with if they do occur. In addition, it’s also helpful to try and make sure no supplies or materials need to be ordered while you’re away, so you may need to alter your purchasing cycle to account for this. Finally, you’ll also need to assign your regular duties to employees you can trust, ensuring that each individual knows exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it in order to cover your workload while you’re away.
#2: Provide a Written “Contact Guide”
To avoid a scenario where your employees contact you every day for small, could-wait issues, provide a written guide as to what issues you should be contacted about while you’re on vacation, and your preferred method of communication. For example, you could say that you should only be contacted by phone or text for genuine emergencies, while everything else should go to your email. Alternatively, you could stipulate you should be contacted only in emergencies; for anything else, employees should document the problem, and you will go through their records when you return.
It’s also helpful to ask your employees to read the guide before you leave, so they have opportunity to ask any questions they may have.
If you are taking a vacation for the first time, rehearsing taking time off can be hugely reassuring for both you and your employees. Simply explain to your employees that while you may be working in the office, you should be treated as if you are invisible for a full day. You can spend the day quietly working on admin, and your employees can test out the “contact guide” you have provided.
At the end of the day, hold a meeting to discuss how things went and how your staff felt during the exercise. If any problems are identified, work with your staff to find solutions, then run a second rehearsal to check that these issues have been improved.
With the above in mind, you should be able to take a vacations with the peace of mind of knowing that your company, and your staff, will be able to function well while you are away. Enjoy!