Here’s a theory: taking a break and spending more time on holiday could make you and your business richer in the long term.
A recent survey from small business lender iwoca suggested that 37 percent of SME owners (the equivalent of 2.1 million) took no more than 15 days holiday in the last calendar year – that’s nearly half the statutory amount of 28 days available in your “usual” working environment.
A big thing with business owners is trust. Whether you manage a team or run a company, trusting your employees to get the job done while being away is paramount. After all, you hired them believing they could do the job, right? Let them show you.
If you’re committed to something you’ll achieve better results. For example, if you want to lose weight, it’s probably a good idea to eat more healthily and exercise regularly. During this period, committing to exercise should become a priority and an extension of your working day. It’s a similar approach to booking holidays. Block out some time and prioritise your holiday so that when the inevitable happens and a business meeting is called (but you’re supposed to be lying on a beach in Brazil), you commit to the holiday and reschedule the meeting for when you’re back. The company is not going to fall apart in your absence.
Unfortunately not enough business owners think like this, “I am the worst culprit when it comes to holidays,” said Martin Brimfield, a Business Operations Manager at Neath Afan Gymnastics. “The reality is that no business with any plans for longevity should be reliant on any one person. This business could happily live without me for a couple of weeks. Holidays, or significant breaks away from it all, should be part of my work plan but it’s just not a habit I have formed. Definitely time to change.”
5 reasons why taking holiday could be good for you and your business:
- Find your perfect balance. This sounds obvious, but there’s no “one size fits all” to work-life balance. We no longer live in a 9-5 world, clocking on or clocking off. We’re always on. Going on holiday doesn’t necessarily mean you need to totally disconnect either. For some, answering a few work emails when on holiday will reduce anxiety. If you want to blitz your emails whilst sipping a Spiced Apple Sangria by the pool, then do it.
- You’ll improve productivity. Not just for yourself, but your employees too. Come back from holiday, reboot and make sure you are ready for all the challenges your business throws at you.
- It sets a good example. How do you think it looks if you’re constantly working and never taking any time off? You set the culture for the company and your employees will follow. Make sure they understand the importance of time off and finding the balance that works for them. Show that you trust your employees enough to take a holiday and hand over the reigns. This trust will be returned to you long-term in the form of happier colleagues and lower employee churn rates.
- You might come up with your next big idea. Sometimes detaching yourself gives you an opportunity to think about your business from a different perspective. Who knows, you could come up with the next big business idea, a new way of working or a game-changing strategy.
- Your relationships will improve. You may be super busy and consumed with your business, but your family and friends have been looking forward to some time off with you for months. It’s important to value quality time with people that really matter.
I’ll always try to get away every few months, even if it’s just for a long weekend. What works for you? Find your perfect balance and commit to it. You never know, it could make you and your business richer in the long term.