The holiday season is upon us, though that may not be much of a relief for some SME owners. The truth is that far too many of us simply are not comfortable taking time off of work to spend with our families. Of course, we try – but just because you’ve left the office doesn’t mean that you’re actually getting away from work.
Studies indicate that nearly half of all small business owners don’t even manage to get any real holiday time in over the course of a given year. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. With a little bit of planning and a very intentional commitment to taking a step away, this could become the first holiday season in a long time during which you’ve felt like actually got away from work. Improve your chances of staying sane during your time out of the office by doing the following:
- Strike a healthy balance with online / offline time
You will hear a lot of people recommend that you turn off your phone, disconnect the Internet and leave your laptop in its case for the duration of your time away. Realistically, you’ll probably need to check in from time to time, and doing so should serve to reassure you that operations are ticking over nicely despite your absence. What you don’t want to do is catch yourself sneaking away from the family to check emails or to lose sleep because a particular procedure is scheduled for the office the next day. Depending on your situation, the best approach may be to set aside 30 minutes per day or so for work. Those few minutes could keep you sane.
- Hire people you trust
The success of your time away hinges on the strengths and abilities of your employees. Your sanity is dependent – at least in part – on the extent to which you can trust them to complete the tasks that have been delegated to them. At the end of the day, you control who works for you. Make the most of that.
- Move essential business processes to the Cloud
The Cloud is a freely available tool that’s sorely underused. By moving key operations like scheduling, file storage, payroll, etc. to Cloud-based platforms, you’ll be creating several advantages at once. First of all, you can grant specific permissions to your managers and team leaders so that they can view, manipulate and work with this information in your absence. Secondly, you can easily monitor their progress (by checking the minutes from the weekly conference in the meeting room, for example) from any location that has an Internet connection. Finally, you’ll never have to worry about losing data again.
- Let people know you are taking time off
Part of making time away successful is making sure that everyone knows that you will be out of the office well in advanced of the actual time off. This applies to more than the people who work for you. Your clients and vendors also need to know that you’ll be on holiday. Advance warning gives them a chance to ask questions, submit important invoices, etc. before you take off – getting any unexpected business out of the way. Once you are actually out of the office, most people are going to make a point of not contacting as long as they know that you are taking time off. They understand what it’s like.
- If you must think about work, think big
We understand: You didn’t become a successful SME operator by not putting lots of time, energy and consideration into your business. Some people just can’t turn off the need to focus on work. If you fall into this category, then try harnessing that energy when you are taking time off. Rather than actively trying not to think about the business, just direct your thoughts to big-picture considerations – where is the business going, which recent strategies have succeeded (of failed), etc.
Author: Janie McCurdy is a freelance writer for MWB Business Exchange, a company who has been providing quality flexible workspaces to clients for years. Information about their spaces can be found on www.mwbex.com.