There are only a few weeks left of the school term, and then we will all have the children home for the six-week summer holidays. With some pre-planning, effort, holiday clubs and irregular working hours, most of us can keep our businesses going.
Of course, though, there are days and weeks when you are going on holiday or just want to switch off completely – totally needed and warranted! As a business owner, I know that it can be difficult.
Our businesses are vital to us; we’ve worked so hard to grow them, but here’s something you need to hear – you are allowed a holiday. You deserve time to switch off and spend with family and friends. Your clients will respect you more for prioritising your wellbeing.
The big question is – how can you do it? Can you switch off your phone? Or, more accurately, as you’ll still be needing the camera, turn it onto aeroplane mode so that it’s ‘off’ and the notifications stop?
I’m sharing the systems I use in the lead-up to a holiday so that I know everything is as organised as it can be before I go – allowing you to take a breath, and not feel that dread of tasks and emails piling up waiting for you..
I let my clients know the dates I’m away weeks ahead and add it to the shared calendar. I don’t hide the fact I’m taking some time off. Particularly in the early days, it can feel as though we should mask our downtime to clients – showing them we’re available 24/7/365 – but this isn’t realistic, is it?
If you’re going away with your family – do it fully. Don’t half-ass your holiday whilst half-ass’ing your work – you’ll feel the pull in both directions, the guilt will take over, and it’ll just be a waste of time.
Communicate to your clients how you’ll cover the work – front-loading before, catching up afterwards, and perhaps delegating some tasks to your associate in the meantime of being away.
Be realistic with capacities and timescales.
Don’t just set a boring “I’m away from my desk” email; go fun.
Why not say “thanks for getting in contact – I’ll be in touch with a reply XXX. I’m currently enjoying some sun-filled adventures with my family, recharging my batteries!”
Have a second in command
People do worry and like to have someone to contact with an issue. If you have a team, nominate a second in command whilst you’re away. If you have a VA already, they know you and your business inside out; you could ask them if they are happy to be a contact whilst you’re off-line. I’ve covered this several times for clients; even if I can’t solve the problem, I can provide reassurance that the enquiry has been received, and it will be sorted out as soon as possible.
There are so many tools and systems to use to automate tasks, such as social media in advance. For example, if you usually post on the day, try out the Meta Business Suite for a month before so that you know how it works and have faith that content will still be shared.
If your business sends out products, edit your postage times on all your sales platforms. If you sell on Etsy, you can use vacation mode when you are away.
If you are a service-based business, such as a podiatrist, edit your opening hours on your Google Business Profile and your Facebook page. You should also create a post which tells people you are away and pin that to the top of your page.
All being well, we hope emergencies do not occur when you are away, but sods law they will. . . nominate someone in your team to contact you IF they cannot solve it themselves. You can reduce the likelihood of this by making sure all your team members are connected and giving them a list of useful contacts if there’s are IT fault, a flood, or a clinical issue they know who to go to.
The idea of unplugging 100% is great but if you have decided to check-in daily, look into getting a VPN, a virtual private network. They are not a lot of money and provide greater online security than using a local Wi-Fi network.
Now you’re ready to go on holiday! In preparation, life has probably been twice as busy as usual, what with sports days, extra work and shopping for those last extra bits; so you’ll really be needing the break! Enjoy!!
Whatever you have planned for the Summer – rest and relaxation on a beach, or maybe adventure and exploring somewhere new, I hope it revitalises you so that you’re rejuvenated and ready for work when you return.
Share your Summer hopes and dreams below; I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned! I’m looking forward to a family holiday, plus lots of exploring with my tribe.