Take planned leave without your business suffering

Planning to take some leave?  What’s the key to a good holiday away from your small business?  The answer.  Be prepared.

It’s a scenario we see every day. You need a holiday. You’ve been working 24/7 to build your business for several years, you have one or more trusted, long-term employees, and you’re finally in a position where you could take a couple of weeks off with planned leave.

However you are not going to take that holiday. 

You are worried about what could happen while you are away.  You don’t want to spend your entire holiday hunched over your laptop responding to client emails while your family fume about your inability to switch off.

The best advice is an old one, but a good one.   Be prepared.   And take that well earned break. 

Manage your stakeholders.

Let your customers and your employees 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. Make sure you give yourself a few days’ grace before your actual date of departure to cover any last-minute work. Where possible give them details of who else they can contact while you are away if something does come up.

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.

Manage your employees

‘Be prepared’ also extends to your employees. Get them ready for your time away on planned leave. Make sure you do a proper handover document and train them in advance in any processes they may need when you are not there.  Leave detailed instructions on who to go to in the event of non-urgent issues, example how to contact the facilities manager of your office space, or who to tell about an IT issue.

Sufficiently preparing your staff and your clients for your absence should take care of most of your potential problems.

Manage you

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 must devote to your business – because we both know no matter what you intend, even though you are on planned leave, you will still cheat on your holiday and 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 businesses social media accounts, and turn off your work email notifications.

And remember, the less you can work while you are on holiday, 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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