Updated: Nov 21, 2017
Actually, none of that is likely … it just seems that way when you’re trying to figure out how to leave your business for a much-needed vacation.
Don’t miss out on that rare glimpse of a lion on the Serengeti or Mona Lisa’s subtle smile at the Louvre because you had your eyes glued to your smartphone. Avoid these four common mistakes before heading out on vacation so you can relax with the peace of mind you deserve (and perhaps a piña colada).
Communicate with clients about your upcoming getaway several weeks in advance. Be honest about what they can expect. Don’t say you’ll check in if you’ll be off the grid, and if you intend to check your email, remember to see if your phone plan allows for usage abroad. For key clients, consider making an introduction to the team member who will be their point of contact while you’re out to get them comfortable working with your proxy ahead of time.
Pro tip: If you’re a solopreneur or if you run a lean team, consider halting advertising in advance of your trip to slow new business while you’re away. Nothing says “your business doesn’t matter to me,” like leaving a prospective client hanging.
As a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats. In addition to training your employees on how to do your actual job, don’t forget to delegate all the day-to-day things that keep your business ticking: setting and disarming the security system, processing payroll, rebooting servers, or calling the building manager when the air conditioner breaks. And remember to pick someone to run company “rituals” while you’re out, like all-hands meetings, brainstorming sessions, or team awards, to ensure core elements of the company culture chug along while you’re away.
Give employees written instructions on how to carry out tasks, but also empower them with a clear framework so they can be the decision-makers in your absence. Empower trusted team members to step up while you step back, and let them handle things. Finally, consider handing over some of your duties a few days early, so they can adjust while you’re still around to answer questions.
Part of the joy of owning a business is the freedom and flexibility to take vacation, right? Maybe not. According to a survey we did of business owners, 30% admit they check their work email at least once a day while they are on vacation.
Since no one should be tethered to their smartphone, make a plan for how often you’ll check emails, answer phone calls, and generally be available to your team (only emergencies, daily check-ins, or whenever they fancy?). Whatever you decide, make it clear to your team – and then stick to it.
Consider appointing one person you trust as your “filter” in case anything pops up that needs urgent attention outside of the guidelines you’ve left.
So you went, you saw, you relaxed (hopefully a little!). But coming home to an overflowing inbox and a deluge of to-dos after being gone can defeat all the stress you just relieved. Instead of returning to the office right after you get back home, build in a buffer day after vacation before anyone (well, hardly anyone) knows you’re back. Go through the endless emails and piled-up messages at your leisure, maybe even from home in-between loads of laundry and uploading some of your favorite photos to Facebook!