Working for yourself means you get to make your own hours and take holidays whenever you want, right? Well, according to a recent study by OnDeck, 49% of small to medium enterprise (SME) owners haven’t had a holiday in the last six months. What’s more, 95% of SME owners stay in work-mode when they do take some time off.
SME owners still work on holidays
The latest OnDeck research highlights the challenges SME owners face when planning time off, with a majority stating that it’s because their business is dependent on them.
Additionally, eight out of 10 SME owners check their emails every day while on holidays, with just 5% stating that they never do. So, even when owners take some time away from the office, they're more than likely still working.
The importance of taking a break from your business
Although finding the time to take a break from running your small to medium business may be difficult, forgoing a holiday may lead to negative long-term issues.
Co-owner of RISE Health and Fitness, John Fell, told OnDeck that long hours, without breaks, can have serious health impacts.
“Poor dietary choices and low levels of physical activity are all contributing factors to cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” he said.
“A constant focus on work can even impact personal relationships.”
Tips to switch off on vacation
Burnout is a real thing, and if you reach breaking point, you won’t be able to run your business effectively anyway. You do need to be realistic about when you take a break to recharge (we wouldn’t recommend dropping everything and flying off to the Bahamas during your business’s peak season) and give everyone in your business a lot of prior warning.
With these tips, you can learn how to find the time to take a holiday, as well as switch off and enjoy.
Document the way you do things – Get workflows in place and document the systems you use and how you manage the business. Then train staff well before you take your break to ensure they can handle everything thrown at them.
Use technology to your advantage – Doing things the old way may be the way you operate, but utilising technology can streamline operations and even result in scheduling things for while you’re away. Investing time in adopting new technology, such as a cloud-based system, and training staff to use it will make taking a holiday a lot easier.
Manage expectations – Put in place a chain of command for clients/customers to contact in your absence. Let big clients know in advance that you’re going away and turn on your out of office email and add in who they can contact instead.
Set rules – If you must check on your business or answer emails while you’re away, designate an allotted time and make sure your employees are aware when it will be. Be sure not to break these rules and shut the computer or emails down once the time is up.
Book a holiday every year – The more you’re out of the office, the more confident your employees will become, and you’ll be able to take a break regularly to recharge and refocus.