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Enjoying a stress-free holiday

As a business owner it’s important to take time away from work.

But worrying about whether staff are meeting deadlines and suppliers are happy translates to more stress and less time enjoying your holiday.

With a little staff communication and planning beforehand, you needn’t worry that your business won’t be able to cope in your absence.

If you really can’t switch off from work mode or something urgent pops up, technology can be a great way to check in and make sure things are ticking along.

Letting go over a shut-down period

There’s no need to be overly anxious about your business during a shut-down period as long as you have a few basic precautions in place.

Back up all your important documents and information and store the back-ups in a secure place off-site. It also makes sense to take this one step further and check that you can restore your systems from your back-up.

Arrange for a responsible staff member or someone independent of your business to keep an eye on your business premises.

Alternatively, install security systems if you haven’t already: fire alarms/sprinkler systems, and break-in monitoring by a security firm.

It’s also a good idea to ensure you have appropriate insurance cover in place and that your insurance policies haven’t lapsed.

Allowing staff to run your business

Trusting your staff to run your business for the first time can involve a large dose of trust and faith, but if everyone is clear about what is expected of them, it is highly likely that they’ll manage just fine without you.

Delegating and putting good systems in place are the keys to a carefree holiday. You should:

  • Plan for contingencies. What would you do if staff fall ill, who should be contacted if there are any unexpected calamities.
  • Discuss your team’s concerns, and your own.
  • Pick the right people for the right jobs. This is critical because, if you want your business to continue to operate well in your absence, you’ll be relying on your staff while you are away. It is essential that you prepare them.
  • Make sure everyone is familiar with the contingency plans – discuss, revise and practise them before your departure.

Establish clear lines of authority and communication

With the boss on holiday, other members of staff have the opportunity to prove their worth. So, be sure they know their responsibilities and have tasks to complete with written guidelines. Establish who will have contact with you. While you don’t want to be overburdened with messages, a brief one-line text message once a day can be a comfort. Save phone calls for more serious concerns.

Encourage your staff to work as a team, and ask them not to swamp you with minor issues Make sure to share everyone’s mobile number with the team. Make sure everyone knows who they should call in the event of an emergency, and who is responsible for what.

Chances are that unless you hear from them, your employees are coping just fine. Email, text or phone from time to time if you must, but try not to micro-manage from afar. Make the most of your well-earned break instead.

Check in remotely

If you’re not able to let go entirely, advances in technology mean that you’re able to work remotely or even manage things from a distance – perhaps even from the beach.

All you need is the ability to communicate from anywhere, and technology is your link. You’ll need to check whether you’ll have wireless or wired access to the Internet and a good mobile connection where you’re going.

If you need to buy new technology for this purpose, don’t leave the purchase until the last minute. You’ll want to be comfortable with the gadgets you are using and have the opportunity to set them up, test them thoroughly, and know what you expect them to do.

Ideally, you’ll have the ability to access and review business documents and ongoing project work through a server-based system that stores all company documents centrally or in the cloud.