By Guest Contributor Gary Young, Equinox
Business owners very often put of taking a holiday or even a short break. As a small business owner you may find yourself covering while your team members are away. But you and your loved ones deserve a holiday too. To stop yourself worrying while you are away there are plenty of tools you can use to help the business keep on track.
With the right set-up you can relax knowing that everything will carry on without any glitches while you get on with the important task of enjoying your break.
Why you need a relaxing holiday
Let’s be very clear. We want you to have a relaxing holiday and not use technology to work while your loved ones have fun without you.
Here’s a reminder of why it is important that you have some relaxing time off:
Family-time: When you own your own business you make the rules. These should include allocating family-time, especially holidays. Your kids grow up fast and you don’t want to miss the pre-teen years when they want to spend their holidays with you!
Maintenance: Getting away is like servicing a car or getting a piano retuned. It’s about maintenance so that you can continue delivering a great product or service to your clients.
Productivity: if you don’t take time off exhaustion and stress build up. Overtime this will reduce your productivity. Time off will help to revitalise the body and refresh the mind. If you have a micro-business, you have to get used to the idea that there is never a perfect time to go on holiday, but it is still something you need to do.
Handover: Very often business owners have an issue with delegating. Think of a holiday handover as a chance to check how your team perform without you, and with some new responsibilities. There are tools to help manage this, if you team are facing something they aren’t sure how to deal with, they’ll know how to reach you.
The tools to keep your business running
When you’re at home, your phone is probably immediately at hand – always. We hope when you’re on holiday you might occasionally turn it off or decide to check it regularly without it dominating your time.
Make clear to your team that you should only be contacted in an emergency. Tell clients, when you will be away, and which team member should ideally be their first port of call. You may also choose to say that they can contact you if necessary. However, with your team doing a fabulous job this shouldn’t prove necessary
Your phone also gives you an invaluable tether to the internet. You’ll need this if your holiday destination doesn’t have WiFi available (or you are cyber-security conscious). For the time being data plans travel with you across Europe. They can also be changed easily to include other parts of the world. This usually involves a per day fee from your mobile provider.
Productivity and Focus Tools
If there is no escape from doing some work while you are away, make sure you organise yourself to have short bursts of concentrated and productive time.
Focus tools such as the Quickstarter POD are, effectively, timers to help you concentrate on one thing at a time.
If you feel a need to go cold turkey you can use Cold Turkey Blocker. You can lock yourself out of your PC or Mac for a specific period of time – or if they catch on your family might do this for you.
Another app to help maintain productivity when you are doing a burst of work is RescueTime. Once we get online, it’s all too easy to be distracted off to blogs, forums and social media sites that then consume time at a rapid rate. RescueTime will keep you focused.
Project Management Apps
Products such as Basecamp, Trello, and Microsoft Teams are being used increasingly. At work they are invaluable for keeping you aware of what is happening and what work needs prioritising on a daily basis.
When you’re on holiday, large numbers of notifications and emails from project management systems can become irritating. You can adjust the settings so that you receive notifications say twice a day. Or switch them off all together!
Options for Outsourcing
When you are away, of course the office phone will keep ringing, and your marketing activities need to continue without a break.
There are companies such as Answer who will cover your phones – charging as little as 90p per call. They text and email you or a member of your team so that one of you can respond as needed. Similarly Virtual Marketing companies can keep your marketing activity flowing, unless your business has something like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule activity before you depart.
You can find the time for a holiday. With the right tools set up, and your team fully briefed, you and your loved ones can have the relaxing time-off you all deserve. Have fun.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Young is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Gary works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business. www.equinoxcomms.co.uk
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