It can be difficult to prepare your business when going on holiday or away for some much needed time off. But, whether you’re taking the time off for maternity, family time, or just to have a break, it’s important to make the most of it.
5 Ways to Manage Your Business While you’re away
Few business owners enjoy micromanaging their employees, but it’s hard to disconnect and not worry about day-to-day operations whilst you’re away. Days off can help you de-stress and clear your mind. They won’t do you much good if you spend your days responding to emails or taking business phone calls. Even if you can’t avoid work entirely, these five tips will help you manage your business while still enjoying your time off.
1. Tell Your Employees and Selected Clients Beforehand
Out-of-office voicemail messages and email auto-responders are helpful reminders of your ‘on leave’ status, but they shouldn’t be your only announcement to your staff, top clients, and/or partners. At least one month in advance, inform your employees and partners of your holiday schedule so they can follow up on projects beforehand. Provide them with the contact information for your second-in-command. If you’re closing up shop while you’re gone, email your clients, announce the change of hours on social media, and post a sign on your storefront window weeks in advance.
2. Enlist a Second-in-Command
Every business owner needs a stand-in for when they’re gone. This might be your COO, or for small companies, your most competent and reliable manager. Make sure the person you choose is someone you feel comfortable leaving in charge, regardless of their title. If you haven’t already, nominate someone on your team to manage daily operations and field all questions or concerns while you’re gone. Meet with this individual before you leave for your holiday to review procedures for tasks, and make sure the rest of your staff knows who will be in charge while you’re out of the office. If your phone system allows it, set your calls to forward to your second-in-command.
3. Set Communication Parameters
It’s hard to enjoy your vacation when your phone keeps ringing and your inbox is full. Before you leave for your holiday, give your employees a communication policy. Outline how and when they can reach you. You may dedicate a couple of hours on specific days for reviewing emails and responding to calls. If you’re traveling abroad, make sure you and your employees have long-distance phone service so you can communicate by phone during emergencies. If your phone system comes with a mobile working integration, make sure it’s set up for you to be able to use it when you’re abroad. If you share a communication policy, your employees will know when they can expect a response. The hardest part is committing to your plan; avoid checking in more frequently than you said you would.
4. Create an Emergency Protocol
You don’t want nightmares of your office burning down to ruin your holiday. You’ll feel much more at ease if you have an emergency procedure your employees can follow should something go wrong. Consider some of the biggest problems that could happen and how your employees can resolve them. For example, what should they do if a pipe bursts or they get locked out of the office? Who should respond to customer or client issues? Create a document that outlines steps to take in response to potential emergencies or problems. Along with clear instructions, save important contact numbers to your phone system, e.g. for your building maintenance contact, your internet service provider, security company, website host, and any other service providers that your staff may need to contact whilst you’re away.
5. Oversee Projects with Collaboration Tools
Web-based project management tools such as Trello make it easy for you to stay in the loop with your team without getting bogged down by the minute details. Using a collaboration tool, you can see what your team is working on and their current progress. Before you leave for your holiday, delegate tasks and create goals for your team members to accomplish while you’re gone. Limit the number of projects you oversee so you avoid spending hours working when you should be relaxing. In case you have to have an urgent meeting, make sure you have set up the conference call facility, if it’s available on your current system.
Don’t miss out on me-time because you’re worried about your business surviving while you’re gone. There are numerous phone system features that can help your business thrive whilst you’re away, but by putting just a few of these tips into practice, it can make it that much easier for you to relax. Enjoy your trip!
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