The kids are out for summer, your staff is making vacation plans and you’re ready for some much-needed summer travel, too. But how will you be able to leave the business you’ve worked so hard to build and nurture? Will customers will take their business elsewhere if you don’t have a full staff ready and waiting to serve them? What if you land a brand-new client who needs a lot of support?
Although these are all valid concerns, constant working without a break is not good for you, your employees or your business. Enthusiasm and creativity suffer, and resentment and fatigue grow.
Since summer is a popular vacation season and because we don’t want to see you crash and burn, here are a few ideas to help you and your staff get some time away from your business—without skipping a beat.
If going off the grid isn’t a reality for you, there are a plethora of tools available to minimize your work time and maximize your time away from work:
- Keep it in the Cloud: Don’t waste precious vacation time trying to access data files you left at your business. Store everything you might need while on the road in the cloud and keep files well-organized in easy to understand folders so employees back at the office won’t have to bug you to find something they need.
- Apps: From social media to autoresponders to messaging apps, there are very few office functions today that can’t be done through an app. Make sure you have enough data and storage on your mobile devices before you leave and (it goes without saying) make sure you know what features are available on the app so you aren’t surprised. Use a password manager app to keep your passwords accessible while you travel.
- Organizers & Auto Responders: No one likes to see their inbox after a vacation. Too many emails to answer and it’s so hard to catch up. Plus, you can’t let emails go unanswered for too long. Look for solutions that auto respond to emails and organizes them by importance. If anything, some of the work will be done for you by the time you get back.
Communication is key when it comes to taking time off. Let your employees know when you’ll be on vacation and make sure your key employees will be in the office during that time. Also, tell your customers and clients the dates you’ll be gone well in advance so they feel confident their business will be handled in your absence. (Have your employees do the same for their specific clients.) For projects due after you get back, give your clients realistic deadlines. Be transparent and you likely won’t get any complaints. It’s best to put one person in charge when you are out of the office, so there aren’t any power plays going on to make things tense and unproductive. Then either check in with that person once a day or ask them to contact you if there’s a major issue or emergency (clarify ahead of time what that would be). This helps keep you from compulsively checking your email.
Cross-training employees to do each other’s jobs (or at least part of each other’s jobs) is also a smart way to make sure things will run smoothly when someone is out of the office. It doesn’t involve any new hires, and it also gives your employees new skills that make them more valuable.
Another idea is to form strategic partnerships with other service companies to take on some of the work—and keep your clients happy—while you’re on vacation.
Keep it Simple
If a grand vacation is out of the question, try to schedule some shorter trips to refuel. Even a three-day weekend is a great way to get some time away from your business. Do several of those over the summer and you’ll still reap the rewards of quality family and friends time. Plus, being away for a few days helps you learn to detach when you need to.
If your employees are itching to get away from the office as well, summer is a great time to build team spirit and camaraderie among your staff. Plan some activities outside, such as company picnics, beach days, golf tournaments or nature walks. Everyone benefits from a change of environment, so make it a point to book a few getaways now.
Nellie Akalp is a passionate entrepreneur, business expert and mother of four. She is the CEO of CorpNet.com, a trusted resource and service provider for business incorporation, LLC filings, and corporate compliance services in all 50 states. Nellie and her team recently launched a partner program for accountants, lawyers, and business professionals to help them streamline the business incorporation and compliance process for their clients.
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