I Can’t Take a Holiday or Relax When I’m Away!

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1 min read

9 Tips on how stressed small business owners can actually turn off when they take a break.

Are you one of the many people who find it impossible to take time away from work?

This is nothing to do with Government restrictions on travel, but everything to do with the question: How will my team manage without me?

When taking that much-earned holiday or weekend away do you worry that the business will collapse without you?

This is a perpetual problem encountered by many business owners, so the idea that you can physically go away from your workplace and forget everything, like your employees all seem to be able to, can feel impossible to accept.

Since March 2020, we’ve all become far more used to remote access and remote working. “I could go on holiday, take my phone and laptop, and still be contactable so that would be the best way, wouldn’t it?”

Bad idea.

We all need a break, and your employees need a break from you occasionally (mine might say they need it often!), so tethering yourself to your office elsewhere isn’t doing anyone any favours.

How to make it easier? Here’s a few pointers that we bounced around in our forum, that we think might help:

  1. You’re human. Your customers are human, too, so they should expect you to take some time out when you aren’t personally available to them immediately or at all.
  2. If you’re employing people, then why don’t you trust them? Actually, they’re just as interested in keeping the business going because they depend on their job, so it’s highly unlikely they plan to mess it up (and if they are planning that, then you should be looking at your recruitment and retention policy ASAP)
  3. Just because you do everything that your role requires (and everything that no-one else wants to – be honest!), it doesn’t mean that you need one person to stand in for you to cover all aspects. Delegate specific tasks to specific people; in fact, delegate to one person and appoint a backup in case the first person isn’t available. This is an important step.
  4. Provide details up front of what you want achieved and any specific methods. But be warned – they are not you, and you shouldn’t expect them to do things exactly the same way, as long as the outcome is the same. You never know, someone might have a better approach than you!
  5. If you’re heading off for one or two weeks, then what can possibly go wrong in that time? In that time, there probably aren’t any strategic decisions to make, so don’t stress about it.
  6. If there is something that REALLY needs your personal attention whilst you’re away, could you put that activity on hold for the duration to avoid that task deviating from your plan?
  7. Some time before you go (and you’ve probably been planning this for months anyway) set up regular meetings between the staff you’re delegating to and outline an agenda. The trick here is to let them chair it and you just attend. That way they can take ownership and not rely on you, and they’ll be comfortable to continue in your absence.
  8. Set out the strict reasons of impending doom that you might be contacted. Stick to them. Don’t check in on them.
  9. When you get back, remember when you delegated those tasks to a couple of people? Keep it like that! Not only have you empowered your team, but you’ve also set up the framework to sneak off more often and to focus on strategic matters for your company.

So, pack your beachwear/warm clothes/activity gear and have a stress-free break – you might actually enjoy it!

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