With the holiday season coming we thought we would discuss taking time off as a business owner - a guide on how to plan, prepare and enjoy your time off. A break will recharge and renew your energy so you can come back to your business fresh, looking after your physical and mental health in the process.
If you’re a business owner reading this blog, particularly a start-up, you would already be well aware of the challenges of taking time off. Whether they be financial or practical, the reasons not to take time off can feel overwhelming.
So how do we take time off well to ensure there are no surprises at work that need urgent attention? Taking time off is one thing, but doing it without stress and worry about what you’re missing at home is another.
We’ve put together 6 tips to help you take time off in style
1. Contact your customers, clients and providers (accountants, marketers, manages etc.) early
Communication is the key to any customer/client relationship, but is particularly valuable when taking time off. Contacting your customers early to let them know your plans allows them to plan ahead and get any needs/requests or orders to you. This also allows you to predict how much work you may miss and whether things need to be passed on to someone you trust who can manage this for you. Setting expectations by communicating early will only strengthen any professional relationship, benefitting everyone.
If you have service providers such as accountants or marketers etc, they also need to be taken into account for communication. If your accountant manages things for you, or you have extra bookkeeping requirements you need taken care of while you’re gone, its a good idea to keep us in the loop. We’d hate for you to miss important deadlines or information about your finances and have no one to take care of it for you (we’re always here to help!).
2. Schedule and automate what you can
When it comes to running your business in today’s digital world, many areas can be automated. Emails, invoice reminders, bills, social media content are just a few of the many jobs that can be set and scheduled to be looked after while you’re away.
Invoices and bills are particularly important when it comes to going away to ensure money is coming in and out, and cashflow doesn’t stop. If you use cloud-based accounting software (eg. Xero, Myob etc.) then there are many automations for you to explore and set-up. For more info on these programs, you can visit our blog: Streamlining your bookkeeping with accounting software
3. Ask for help if you need
Whether it’s hiring someone for a busy period (eg. a Christmas casual or delegating to other staff), asking for help is vital to ensure things aren’t missed while you take time off. Asking for help with tasks that may need attending to while you’re away will also help those who are performing those tasks to grow by learning news skills and taking on larger responsibility.
4. Consider taking shorter, more frequent breaks
According to Xero’s report, two weeks annual leave is the usual amount of time Aussies like to take each holiday. However, nearly one in five small business owners prefer to take only four days off at a time. 71% of small business owners said more frequent breaks throughout the year also reduces the likelihood of ‘back to work holiday blues’.
Having a regular refresh by taking smaller, more frequent holidays can do wonders for your energy, business, and headspace. A long weekend, or a mid-year week away means you have shorter stints away from work. Humans aren’t built to work at 100% output for 50 weeks of the year, and then crash for 2 weeks, only to do it again the next year. By taking these shorter breaks, you can manage your energy better, prevent burnout, have breaks to look forward to, and gain perspective as you come back to work fresh.
5. Make sure your employees are taking time off too
Employees can feel the weight of responsibility to keep on going, even when they’re entitled to time off. It’s important to build a workplace environment that encourages healthy lifestyle, and not overworking. You’ll have a healthier, happier culture at work, if your employees are taking time to enjoy life, re-energise, find inspiration in other things, and have things to look forward to. They might not even realise they need a holiday, or can have one if they wanted too! So, make sure you have those conversations, and keep their needs in mind.
In a recent study by Xero, research shows that in Australia, while it may not be expected, people who work for themselves are taking more time off, compared to those that work for others.
They are stepping away from their desks more frequently to enjoy needed rest and relaxation.
“64% of the small business owners that we surveyed reported as having been on a holiday in the last six months. Almost two-in-five having done so in the last three months. On the flip side, 23% of people who work for others indicated they haven’t had a holiday in the last 12 months. The majority of small business owners (65%) also have plans to take holidays in the next six months. Additionally more than a third (36%) are set to travel in the next three months.”
6. Let go of the idea of a perfect time to take a holiday
There may never feel like a good time to go on a holiday when you work for yourself. There’s a constant pile of to-do’s that feels like it only ever keeps growing. But we can’t allow the everyday tasks to stop us from scheduling in our time away. Taking time off will only increase your productivity and energy levels, and is something we all need to thrive in our businesses.
Being aware, going places that are within your budget, planning ahead and not going away on peak business times are all things to consider when choosing a good time and place for a holiday, but it may never be perfect, and that’s ok! Letting go and doing what’s right for you is important in the longevity of your business and work life.
Time to schedule in your next break!