How to take a break from your business and switch off these holidays

Emma Deriu

Thursday, 17 December 2020

You know a holiday will do you good, but it can be difficult to switch off when you're well aware of that growing to-do list awaiting your return. So, how do you do it?

More importantly, should you go off the grid completely or keep an eye on your business while you’re away?

Switching off doesn't have to mean going off the grid

When you have a bunch of things to do, being told to ‘relax’ is counterproductive. Sometimes the only way to tackle stress is by handling an issue head on, rather than letting it escalate.

In saying that, if you can’t leave your business running on its own for a few weeks (with the exception of new businesses), you could be doing something wrong. A competent, well-trained team and the right systems in place gives you the freedom to take breaks when you need them, and empowers your team to take initiative and own their roles.

This isn’t to say you should drop everything for a week-long getaway in the Bahamas during your company’s busiest time of the year, but within reason, you should be able to take time off and know that everything will be okay while you’re gone. A business that survives without you is actually a sign of success.

Tips for switching off when you’re away

To avoid your mind shifting into work mode the minute you lay on the beach, it helps to prepare in advance. Here are our top three tips for switching off these holidays:

1. Define and set rules

You mightn’t want to switch off completely for the entire stretch of your trip and that's okay. Instead, create a schedule with allotted time each day for checking in. This could be one hour per day between 4-5pm.

Before you set off, let your team know when you’ll be online so they can save their questions for you. But stick to your schedule and shut the laptop when time is up!

If you’d prefer to switch off completely, that’s doable too, but you’ll need to plan a little further in advance. Speaking of which…

2. Automate

The more you prepare now, the less you’ll have to think about later. Putting systems and procedures in place to automate workflows saves a bunch of time, improves efficiency and means you can switch off without worrying about your business suffering.

Before you go away, set up a system that forwards texts directly to your phone alerting you only if there’s an emergency. This way, you’ll have the reassurance you need to relax, and in the unlikely event that something goes seriously wrong (touch wood) you’ll be across it. Alternatively, appoint someone you trust to make decisions in your absence.

Don't forget to let clients know who they can contact while you're away, and set up an automated out-of-office email.

3. Invest in your team and encourage collaboration

Investing in your team—and encouraging open communication and collaboration—is crucial to your business's success and efficiency.

Your team should be across key processes (and might even consider sharing knowledge and insights) so that projects can be picked up in your absence (or another team member's absence). Move to a cloud-based system if you aren't there already to enhance and support a collaborative culture.

In addition, taking out finance to boost cash flow (or simply have funding on hand for emergencies) can give you peace of mind while you’re away.

It gets easier

Going on your first holiday as a business owner can be anxiety-inducing to say the least. You might want to start off with a shorter trip, or check in on work for an hour each day to make sure all is well. But after you’ve done it once (and seen that everything worked out okay) you’ll feel more confident taking longer trips and switching off in general.

If you found something didn’t quite work out on your first trip, you can tweak processes and procedures for next time.

It might take a couple of holidays to find the right balance for you, but remember that your mental health is number one, and switching off while on holidays is actually doing your business a favour.

After all, some of the best business ideas come to mind on a beach somewhere far away.

Enjoy, you deserve it!

Emma is our Senior Copywriter at Valiant. Working closely with our lending experts, she enjoys educating SMEs on the latest in business finance, and empowering them to achieve their entrepreneurial goals.

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