Do you tend to put off booking a holiday? As a business owner, you may worry about leaving your team to cope in your absence but for your own sake as well as your family’s you need to take time off. Luckily there are plenty of tech tools you can put in place so that you and your family can go away while your business carries on without a hitch.
Here, Gary Young from Equinox explains how small business owners who need a holiday can take one without worry about their business.
Why you need a proper holiday
It’s important to be clear that we want you to have a proper holiday and not use technology to keeping working while everyone else has fun without you. Here’s a reminder of why having a holiday is essential for you as a business owner:
Having a proper break is like having a car serviced. It’s about maintenance so that you can continue delivering a great service to your clients.
If you don’t take time off exhaustion and stress build-up. Over time 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.
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!
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 your team are facing something they aren’t sure how to deal with, they’ll know how to reach you.
Which tools do you need?
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 letting it dominate 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.
Project Management Apps
Products such as Trello, Basecamp, and Microsoft Teams are being used increasingly by businesses. 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 your holiday, large numbers of notifications and emails from project management systems can become irritating. You can adjust the settings so that you receive notifications at specific times of the day. Or you could be brave and switch them off completely!
When you are away the office phone will keep ringing and need answering, and your marketing activities need to continue without a break.
There are companies such as Answer who will cover your phones – charging as little as 90p per call. They will 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, unless your business has something like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule activity before you depart.
If you absolutely have to do some work while you are away, make sure you organise yourself to have bursts of concentrated, productive time (and keep them as short as possible).
Focus tools such as the Quickstarter POD are, effectively, timers to help you concentrate on one thing at a time and avoid distractions.
If you feel a need even more support you can use Cold Turkey Blocker. You can lock yourself out of your PC or Mac for a specific period of time. If they know you have this you may find your family setting the blocker up for you.
Another app to help maintain productivity when you are doing a burst of work is RescueTime. Once we get online, it’s all too easy to be distracted and spend time on blogs, forums and social media sites that eat up time at a rapid rate. RescueTime will keep you focused.
These tools will help your business run smoothly so that you can have a relaxing holiday. If you haven’t booked a holiday for a while seize the moment, talk to your loved ones and pick your dates and destinations right now.