We all have had a very tiring spring and summer. Being a business owner is stressful as it is but when outside factors (aka worldwide Pandemics) take place, it provides even more stress than normal. Let’s face it, we all could use a break!
Getting away right now might not be an option for you, but taking a staycation could be a viable option.
According to a new study from LinkedIn (MSFT), most employees said that success in their careers really means being able to disconnect from work. But nearly 70% of employees still don’t disconnect from work email or communications (King, 2018). That is an astounding statistic!
LinkedIn also released that nearly half (46%) of professionals admit to not taking all their vacation time last year, pointing to reasons like having too much work (Decembrele, 2019).
Professionals assume that if they do take time off, they need to still be connected in order to lessen the amount of work that they will come back to. But by doing that, are you truly disconnecting and taking the much needed time for mental health you deserve?
Should you unplug or continue checking in?
A survey by Accountemps found that 54 percent of workers said they typically check in with the office at least once or twice a week during their time off. Their reasons included gaining peace of mind that things were under control (54 percent), keeping projects moving along (53 percent), avoiding coming back to extra work (47 percent), and preventing colleagues from feeling undue stress (34 percent) (Lusinski, 2018).
By not completely disconnecting, you are being forced to mentally stay in “work mode” and never gain the mental clarity you need by gaining distance from your clients and workload. You wind up returning to work and not feeling refreshed and still feel drained and stressed. In addition, you now have more work to “catch up on” so your stress level skyrockets even more.
Here are some tips to take a worry-free stay-cation where you can disconnect as a small business owner:
How to take a worry-free staycation as a business owner
Give clients advanced notice
As your scheduled staycation approaches, take time to make your clients aware that you will not be available. Continue reminding them routinely so that they are clear that you won’t be available during that period of time. This helps to implement boundaries and expectations.
Create a Backup Plan & Ask for Support
Your clients may become anxious as they hear that you will be away from the office. There also may be coordination that needs to happen for your clients while you’re gone.
If you don’t already have an assistant or support staff, consider hiring a freelancer who can provide some part-time assistance, specifically when you are out of the office. Here are some websites where you can post jobs to find someone who would be a good fit for your business:
The Mom Project
If you haven’t been able to find someone to help support you, consider partnering with another small business owner who provides similar services. You can work with each other to provide emergency support to each others clients when one person is taking time off. You can set up a contract so that expectations and roles are clear.
Once you have established someone to assist you while you’re out, you can sit with your clients and lay out an explicit plan of who they can contact for emergencies while you are away.
Set Up Strategic Out-Of-Office Replies
Once you have come up with a plan of who can handle emergency situations while you’re out, create a detailed out of office reply for both emails and voicemails. Bullet out different scenarios and based on those specific situations, highlight what the next step should be for your client or someone on the care team. By providing next steps for people, it helps to make everything crystal clear.
If you feel overwhelmed with taking time off and it is providing too much anxiety for you, consider scheduling work time while you’re away- but limiting it!
Instead of checking your emails all day, every day, schedule specific days and times where you will check your email.In addition, make rules for yourself about replying to emails. Replying to emails can open the door to even more work so consider this before hitting reply! Once you identify what your boundaries will be, make sure to stick to your plan and don’t keep the revolving work door open or you’ll never get any rest!
“Return from Staycation Plan”
Before you “leave the office” so to speak, make sure you are coming up with how you’re going to dive back into work on your return. Make sure you’re blocking days out on your calendar for when you return where you’re able to go through your emails and sort them into important vs unimportant. Taking the time to set this up in advance will make you feel better since you know you will have the time to truly catch up on things.
While you’re away, your business may not run exactly how you wanted it to; and that’s okay! For your mental health, you need to accept this fact and instead focus on relaxing and doing enjoyable activities.
Taking time off is what every business owner needs. It not only helps to give you mental clarity but it also can help to shed light on any imperfections within your business and provide perspective on how you can enhance and grow it as well!
Have more tips on how to have a successful staycation as a business owner? Drop your advice in the thread below!
Decembrele, Blair (2019). Out of Office: How to Actually Disconnect During Your Summer Vacation.
Retrieved from: https://blog.linkedin.com/2019/july/10/out-of-office-how-to-actually-disconnect-during-your-summer-vacation
King, Rachel. (2018). This Is the Number One Reason Why People Don’t Unplug From Work While on Vacation
Retrieved from: https://fortune.com/2018/07/11/linkedin-summer-vacation-travel/
Lusinski, Natalia. (2018). Should You Unplug From Work On Vacation Completely? We Asked Experts & Here’s What They Said. Retrieved from: https://www.bustle.com/p/should-you-unplug-from-work-on-vacation-completely-we-asked-experts-heres-what-they-said-71907