Everybody needs a break from work to recharge their batteries but this can be a daunting prospect for business owners, especially those working independently.  With a bit of forethought and planning you’ll be able to jet off for some R&R feeling confident that your business is not going to suffer.

1. Get organised

Whatever you do don’t leave it until the day before you go!  No-one wants to approach their holiday under the cloud of an unfinished piece of work, missed deadline or unhappy customer.  Putting a reminder in your calendar for four weeks leading up to your holiday will help you to plan your workload, ensuring that your deadlines are realistic and you are not leaving too much to the last minute.

2. Communicate

This probably sounds rather obvious but make sure you let others know in advance.  Adding a notice to your email signature a few weeks before you go on holiday gives your customers and suppliers the opportunity to make you aware of any potential problems with plenty of warning.  Make this text stand out by using a different colour or a bold font.

3. Create an operations manual

If you need to get cover for whilst you are away from the office, then it’s vital that you create some written instructions or handover notes for staff to refer to.  Step-by-step guidelines using screenshots to demonstrate key points are really useful and can save you getting unwanted phone calls or emails, interrupting your holiday.  Having these guidelines in place is a great business practice in general.  Life can be very unpredictable and having some form of manual to refer to in an emergency will be invaluable for anyone having to step into your shoes.  Once written, get someone to read them through for you making sure that they can follow everything. This will give you the insight and opportunity to make any necessary changes in advance.

4. Prioritise and be realistic

It is not realistic to expect someone to be able to know everything that you know about your business in a short space of time. Concentrate on key areas you need covering, making sure that these are done well.

5. Don’t forget your out of office (or your toothbrush!)

Most electronic diary applications have the functionality to set up an out of office message in advance, meaning you can set this up now and be reassured that it will come into action the day you go away.  Make sure you include any important contact numbers and your return date to the office and don’t forget to do the same with your telephone voicemail messages.

Remember, a little bit of planning can take you a long way!


Original content written by SmartPA Partner, Sarah Wooton.