How Small Business Owners Can Stress Less on Vacation
Ah, vacations. Relaxing days that sail into relaxing evenings as you bask in the glory of being forced to do nothing but what you want to do. During the time you’re away, work is the farthest thing from your mind — right? Well, in a perfect world. But for you, work is more than just a nine-to-five thing you do to make money, it is your life. You are a small business owner so for you, work can’t really stop, even while you’re on vacation. Ease your worries about your business while you’re away by taking some small measures to help you stress less.
Keep ‘Em Honest
When the cat’s away, the mice will play. Even if you trust your mice and know that they will do a good job in your absence, rules do tend to be a bit more flexible when the boss is away. Whether they bring an approved coffee cup to work or not is out of your control, but one thing that you definitely don’t want them to bend too much on is their working hours. For better or worse, no matter how good of a relationship you have with your employees outside of work, you are paying them for the time they actually work.
If you’re concerned that someone might fudge their hours while you’re gone, check into employee time tracking software. It does more than act as a time clock; it also factors in overtime, total hours worked and generates a timesheet for employees upon request (should anyone have a question about their hours). It’s a win/win, since it gives you peace of mind and ensures that everyone does the honest thing.
Have a Stand-In While You’re Gone
There will always be times when, no matter how well-trained and capable your right-hand employee is, there are some things that require the Boss’s approval. Be prepared for these moments, but barring some irreparable emergency that cannot be helped without you, designate someone who can act as “you” when you’re not there.
It’s likely that if you entrust this person to run your company while you’re gone that you already trust them as a person and know that they will use common sense. That being said, don’t just send them into the great unknown and dash off into the sunset. Give them a briefing on all the important things that they will need to know. Have a list of vendors, clients and other important points of contact that will be useful for them just in case, and be sure to clearly label important things like names and account numbers. Mark important dates on the calendar and verbally remind them about upcoming events and if you think it will help, run them through what a typical day looks like when you’re around. It’s essential that you clarify anything that your substitute You is unsure about right upfront. Give them a chance to ask any questions that they might have so that you are both on the same page.
Create Out-of-Office Messages
Make sure that you communicate with anyone who needs to know that you will be unreachable for the next several days. Contact vendors and clients who might need to reach you and alert them verbally, but it also pays to create out-of-office messages.
Record a voicemail explaining that you are on vacation, and list the dates that you will be gone. Give a phone number for your stand-in and encourage them to call that person if they need immediate assistance. Do the same with your email account and provide an alternate email for that person. Chances are someone, sometime will demand to speak with you and insist that it’s an emergency (even if it’s not really), but you can train your substitute You to know the difference so that you’re not bothered while you’re away.
Prepare for the time you’re going to be away by being one step ahead of anything you might be concerned about at the office. You want the only thing you worry about while you’re gone is whether or not you packed enough sunscreen.
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