How to take a guilt-free holiday

holiday break
Business chair with out of office sign concept for vacation, holiday, lunch break or work life balance

Most people believe small-business owners can take a holiday whenever they want but the reality is often far different. For many business owners, the “time is money” mantra figures into their mental calculation of how much a holiday will cost them, resulting in them finding it virtually impossible to unplug themselves completely from business.

But the avoidance of a break is unhealthy and counterproductive, and as a business owner, you might find it difficult to dodge the feelings of guilt when you want to take a holiday. But keep in mind, stepping out of the daily grind of running a business allows your mental space for creativity and innovation. A break clears your head and provides the opportunity to reflect upon what’s happened during the last year and plan.

Here are some strategies that will help you minimise the time spent working and maximise your enjoyment of the holiday.

  1. Inform your clients when you will be away and when you will be back. Let them know who to contact in your absence, or how to contact you should there be an emergency.
  2. Set an out of office message on your emails advising recipients of when you will be returning.
  3. Prepare a file of important contact details to take away with you. Depending on your destination, it may be prudent to have a paper copy of these contacts.
  4. Consider changing your message on your phone advising callers you are on leave, and when you will call them back. Set up a temporary answering service or have one of your staff answer calls.
  5. Discuss with your staff the procedures to handling various problems and emergencies.

Set yourself some limits for checking in on your business. If it’s imperative you check your emails, choose a time each day that suits your schedule, and stick to it.

If you are a sole proprietor and part of your marketing plan is to post on social media daily, create and queue content in advance through free tools such as Hootsuite, or have someone else manage the posts for you.

Upon your return, keep your schedule as light as possible. Give yourself a few days grace to readjust to work-life and allow some time to implement any new ideas and generally catch up before you get back into the routine.

As difficult as it may seem, taking a holiday is a great way to see how the business can operate without you and answer the most fundamental question posed to business owners: Do the people on your team have what it takes to keep the business running in your absence? If not, identify the gaps and take steps in rectifying the issues. If so, be sure to show your appreciation to them upon your return.