Some business owners, senior managers, and entrepreneurs are so concerned about their company they don’t take holiday even though they should. Here’s how to keep your business running like clockwork while you’re away.
Like so many other managing directors, or indeed anyone working in a fast-paced business environment, my working week heading Powwownow can be hectic. I try to stick to a certain structure to ensure everything gets done. But, when it comes to taking time out, I like to relax, be a little more spontaneous, and just go with the flow.
I find the best way to do this is to plan carefully ahead of my trip, which allows me to do only the work that needs to be done without encroaching too much on precious family time. I remember reading a piece in The Guardian a few years back, which claimed that just over three quarters (76%) of small business owners forfeit holidays in order to keep a tight ship – but it doesn’t have to be like that!
Out of office
Nothing beats the feeling of switching on your out of office reply before leaving for a well-earned break, just so long as you’ve done a solid handover. Delegate top-level duties to a senior team member, or one that you know can be trusted. If you’ve built a strong team with a good work ethic, choosing somebody shouldn’t be a problem.
It may mean your employees take on a bit more work as they cover for you while you’re away, but it presents them with a chance to shine and show others what they can do. The best employees will relish the challenge and appreciate the responsibility, especially in an age where agility is expected within teams.
Hold a meeting with your team to brief them on any issues which may arise in your absence.
Follow this up by sending a detailed email reiterating who will be responsible for what, and who to contact in place of you should any issues crop up.
Notify third parties of your absence if you need to, naming any colleagues who will be looking after them during your time out. Avoid receiving multiple updates by assigning one employee the task of sending you regular updates at a specific time of day – if you want to be kept in the loop.
Tech it easy
Technology has transformed remote working, but things still don’t always quite work out abroad. A little prep can mean you keep connected while you’re away from the office and save you stress:
1) Ensure your software, whether on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, is all up to date and in working order before jetting off.
2) You may need to tell your mobile network where you’re heading to avoid sky-high fees. Many providers have bolt-on packages which allow you to make cheaper calls from abroad.
3) Download WhatsApp, which you can use to send messages for free while you’re abroad.
4) Some of the best ideas come to us while we are away from work. Downloading a cloud-based app like Evernote lets you easily store thoughts onto your smartphone that can sync up with wherever you have the app. So you can type up a product idea on your phone sat on the beach then pick it up on your laptop in the office on Monday morning.
5) If you run your business social media accounts, the Buffer app allows you to schedule posts prior to your trip.
6) If your position means that avoiding work altogether is simply unavoidable, then try set aside an hour each morning before breakfast to catch up, allowing you to enjoy the rest of your day without worrying so much about what’s lurking in your inbox.
By definition, a holiday should be a chance for you to unwind and return fresh and rejuvenated, ready to take on the next set of challenges that lie around the corner.
Some strategic planning will allow you to put your feet up and let your team show you just what they can do. After all, that’s why you hired them, right?
By Jason Downes, Managing Director, Powwownow
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