How can you take a break without your business suffering?

By Gary Young, Equinox
Do you find yourself waving your team off on their holidays and wondering when you can take a break yourself? If you own a small business you may well be the person who covers when other people are away, and worries about which aspects of the business will suffer if you leave others to manage without you.
What technology needs to be in place for you to have a holiday with family and friends where you can relax knowing that everything will carry on without a hitch in your absence?
The benefits of switching off
Let’s be very clear. We want you to have a proper holiday and not use technology to work while your family has fun without you.
Here’s a reminder of why it is important that you have some relaxing time off:
Family-time: When you own your own business you make the rules. These should include allocating family-time, especially holidays. Your kids grow up fast and you don’t want to miss the pre-teen years when they want to spend their holidays with you!
Maintenance: Getting away is like servicing a car or getting a piano retuned. It’s about maintenance so that you can continue delivering a great product or service to your clients.
Productivity: If you don’t take time off exhaustion and stress build up. Overtime this will reduce your productivity. Time off will help to revitalise the body and refresh the mind. If you have a micro-business, you have to get used to the idea that there is never a perfect time to go on holiday, but it is still something you need to do.
Handover: Very often business owners have an issue with delegating. Think of a holiday handover as a chance to check how your team perform without you, and with some new responsibilities. There are tools to help manage this, if you team are facing something they aren’t sure how to deal with, they’ll know how to reach you.
The tech tools to help keep your business running smoothly
Mobile phone
When you’re at home, your phone is probably immediately at hand – always. We hope when you’re on holiday you might occasionally turn it off or decide to check it regularly without it dominating your time.
Make clear to your team that you should only be contacted in an emergency. Tell clients, when you will be away, and which team member should ideally be their first port of call. You may also choose to say that they can contact you if necessary. However, with your team doing a fabulous job this shouldn’t prove necessary
Your phone also gives you an invaluable tether to the internet. You’ll need this if your holiday destination doesn’t have WiFi available (or you are cyber-security conscious). For the time being data plans travel with you across Europe. They can also be changed easily to include other parts of the world. This usually involves a per day fee from your mobile provider.
Productivity and focus tools
If there is no escape from doing some work while you are away, make sure you organise yourself to have short bursts of concentrated and productive time.
Project management apps
At work they are invaluable for keeping you aware of what is happening and what work needs prioritising on a daily basis.
When you’re on holiday, large numbers of notifications and emails from project management systems can become irritating. You can adjust the settings so that you receive notifications say twice a day. Or switch them off all together!
Outsourcing options
When you are away, of course the office phone will keep ringing, and your marketing activities need to continue without a break.
There are companies who will cover your phones; they text and email you or a member of your team so that one of you can respond as needed. Similarly, virtual marketing companies can keep your marketing activity flowing.
No excuses! Set up the tools you need, trust your team, keep your family happy and enjoy a well-deserved holiday.
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