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Last Updated February 16, 2021

Need a break from your small business? Be prepared and have a good holiday.

Planning to take some leave?  Are you prepared?

This is the scenario.  You’ve been working around the clock to build your business for several years, with one or more trusted, long-term employees.  Now you are finally in a position where you could take a couple of weeks off with planned leave and take a well earned break.

So what is the key to a good holiday away from your small business without the stress and worry that things are running smoothly back at the office?  

The answer?  Be prepared.   We have provided suggestions across all areas of your business to assist in being prepared for that break and to have a good holiday. 

Prepare your customers

Let your customers know ahead of time when you will be absent. If you personally manage certain clients, inform them early of any periods when you will be unavailable.  Where possible give them details of who else they can contact while you are away if something does come up.  

Make sure you give yourself a few days’ grace before your actual date of departure to cover any last-minute work. 

Don’t schedule any big projects, such as website ‘go-live’ dates close to your holiday either – you don’t want to be frantically dealing with problems or bugs as you are trying to leave for your holiday.

Prepare your suppliers

Consider if any of your suppliers will be impacted by your absence also.  You may need to schedule for extra deliveries to occur prior to your departure, or have one of you staff manage the supply of goods or services while you are away.  

Prepare your supervisors and leaders

Let your supervisors, managers and leaders know ahead of time when you will be absent.  A month out from being away, run through with your managers and teams the tasks and projects that will be occurring while you are on leave.  

Be sure that you are comfortable that they are progressing as required and have contingencies in place for while you are away.  

Where possible, consider delaying projects or have them completed before you leave.  This is especially important for staff who are taking on extra duties in your absence.  

Make sure you do a proper handover document and train others in advance on any processes they may need when you are not there.  This includes leaving detailed instructions on who to go to in the event of non-urgent issues, for example how to contact the facilities manager of your office space, or who to report an IT issue to.

Prepare your employees

‘Be prepared’ also extends to your employees. Get them ready for your time away on planned leave.  While you may not be responsible for the day to day management of all of your employees, they may be indirectly impacted due to other employees having to take on extra duties down the chain of command.   It is important to provide positive communication and thank your staff in advance for their assistance in your absence.  

Prepare yourself and your family

There is no point taking these steps however, without preparing the most important person. Yourself.

You need to set yourself clear ground rules for while on leave as to when and how much holiday time you may need to devote to your business – even though you are on planned leave, you may still be required at times to  look at your work emails.

Set yourself some firm rules.

Set a time of day and a time limit for checking in on your business. Choose a time of day when you are likely to be hanging around the hotel room anyway – say a half-hour early in the morning, and perhaps another 45 minutes in the evening when you return from dinner or evening activities. Avoid your business’ social media accounts, and turn off your work email notifications.

And remember, the less you can work while you are on holidays  the better it will ultimately be for your business. You will return refreshed and re-energised to take it to the next level.

For more tips and to discuss your business needs, chat to us at Small Business Society.

The information provided in this document is for your guidance only and is general in nature. It does not constitute as legal advice. It is the responsibility of the individual to seek legal advice where required.

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About Kate Tongue

Kate Tongue is the founding Director of Small Business Society.

She is a qualified and experienced Human Resources professional with more than 10 years of experience across the private and public sectors.

Her particular interest and experience is in managing the employee life cycle, delivering process improvements, and Human Resource strategy.

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