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How to take time off over the Christmas break

Leadership

How to take time off over the Christmas break

Updated: 21 December 2021

As 39% of business owners regularly work more than 60 hours per week, finding time to take annual leave is often low on your priority list — even over Christmas. But research shows that on average, workers who take their annual leave are 40% more productive and less irritable, making it even more essential that you earmark some time to step away, rest up and spend some treasured time with your loved ones this festive season. Here, we explore the steps you can take to keep your business running smoothly while you’re away.

Plan for your time off work 

Your first step to protect your business — and your mental health— is to plan your annual leave. Start by identifying any concerns you have about your business in your absence, list them out and then look to develop strategies to tackle these. Some of your concerns might be:

  • Losing clients 
  • Missing out on new business 
  • Leaving important tasks unfinished 
  • Tasks being performed to a lower standard in your absence 

Seeing these concerns written down on paper will help you to see that most, if not all of them, are easy to manage. For example, “tasks being performed to a lower standard” could be solved simply by providing additional training to the team member who’ll be in charge of handling these key tasks when you’re away.

In addition, it’s essential that you:

  • Prioritise – Pin down what needs to be done and at what point. Cut any tasks that can wait until the new year, then add all remaining high-priority tasks to a calendar. That way, you’ll know nothing gets missed.
  • Delegate – Assign duties that you would usually perform to other staff members who will be in the office during your time off work. 
  • Communicate – Make sure your team members know exactly what’s expected of them during this period. Check they’re comfortable performing these tasks, and provide training if they’re not. 

Finally, you should also consider exactly how much time you want to take off. A two-week break filled with disruption and stress will leave you feeling less rested than a peaceful five-day break, so give yourself as much time as you think is actually feasible.

Let clients know you’ll be away for Christmas 

Make sure your clients and customers know you’ll be taking the time off and be sure to give them plenty of notice. If your business is closing for one or more days during the break, it’s worth sending out an email to your clients to let them know that any orders and enquiries will be dealt with when you return. This also gives them the chance to place their orders earlier in the month to account for this, leaving customers happy when their orders arrive on time, and making sure you don’t lose out on business.

If you don’t plan to shut up shop on your annual leave, but do plan to have other team members take over key duties, let your clients know ahead of time who they should contact in your absence. It’s also worth setting up an autoresponder on your email, which both lets clients know that you’re away, but also tells them who to contact in your absence.

Learn how to switch off 

Remember why you’re taking the time off in the first place — it’s about giving yourself the time to rest and recharge. Start by trying these simple steps to keep your mind off work and firmly in the Christmas spirit:

  • Keep your phone out of reach to avoid checking emails and messages 
  • Set an “out of office” autoresponder
  • Schedule activities that’ll help to keep your mind off work 
  • Uninstall or mute work-related apps 
  • Ask team members only to contact you if it’s urgent 

If you need to check emails or messages, set times during the day to do this. Limit yourself to once or twice a day at most.

Make the most of it 

Your Christmas break is the perfect time to reconnect with friends and family who you don’t get to see as much of during the rest of the year. Plan ahead to make sure you can catch up with as many of your loved ones as possible.

Try to remember that your Christmas annual leave is exactly that – your annual leave. Leave time to have lazy mornings, pursue hobbies, and do whatever it is you really want to do during your time off. 

It’s likely that during your break some work-related tasks won’t get done, so remind yourself that this will happen and that it isn’t the end of the world. These tasks can easily be picked up when you return to work.

While we want to help as much as we can, the information found here is provided solely for informational purposes and should not be considered financial or legal advice. To the extent permitted by law, Funding Circle does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of, or reliance on, the information contained here. If you have any questions, please speak to your professional adviser or seek independent legal advice.

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