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How Hard Is It for Small Business Owners to Get Away on Holiday?


Up to 60% of Small Business owners do not take a holiday.

Between 30% and 60% of Britain’s small company owners are failing to take a summer holiday, according to various recent surveys. Worse still, one study found that more than 10% don’t take any breaks at all throughout the year. Even when entrepreneurs do try to give themselves some space and take a break from the business, many end up doing work every day while they are supposed to be relaxing.

However, the reality is that small business owners need time off just like everyone else, in order to recharge their batteries and go back to work refreshed. As well as taking its toll on your own health, if you are run down it is likely to affect your business, because you won’t be performing at your best. Researchers have found that people who are under constant strain are less likely to be able to think in an innovative way.

Here are some tips about how to prepare for a holiday, so that you can go away for a short time in the confidence that your company won’t suffer as a result – and indeed will benefit from you being rested.

Planning Ahead – Many businesses find some times of the year are quieter than others, so it can help to work out when a lull is likely to occur, and schedule a break when demand for your services is lower than usual. Planning ahead and ensuring key projects are completed before you travel can also help to ensure you don’t have too much work on hand where your own input is essential for the period that you are away.

Delegation and Training – Small businesses tend to rely on the strengths and talents of the owner, so it can be difficult to hand over tasks to someone else. However, it’s important to make sure that colleagues are trained up to deal with some of the work you would normally handle. This will also have benefits once you return from holiday, meaning your staff have acquired extra business skills. Allocating responsibilities clearly is the key here, to make sure everyone understands who is supposed to deal with particular areas.

Arranging Support – It’s helpful both for you and for your colleagues if you have support in place while you are away, such as IT helplines and office managers who can be consulted. This means people won’t need to contact you for issues such as computer malfunctions. It’s also useful if there are mentors who staff can get in touch with if they need advice.

Arranging support is likely to be harder if you are a sole trader. Getting someone to stand in for you or field calls for you will obviously rely on a relationship of trust, as you need to know that the other person can be relied on to give your clients a good service without trying to take them away from you. Networking with others in a similar position may help you to find someone you can work with in this way, and where you could reciprocate by helping out when they are on holiday.

If you work from home, it’s also helpful if you have a good virtual office service, with someone to take calls and receive mail for you while you are on holiday, continuing to give a professional focus to your company.

Don’t Spend Your Whole Time Online – For many small business owners it’s unrealistic to stay out of touch for long periods, but there’s no point in going to the beach if you spend your entire time checking work emails on your phone or tablet. Remember to set up an out-of-office message, saying who to contact if an urgent issue arises, and, if you do feel you need to check your work emails, try to do so only once a day or so.

Taking a break for even a few days can seem daunting to a small business owner snowed under with work, but staying chained to the desk all year round isn’t fair to you or your loved ones. Having the right resources and systems in place and networking with others in the same position can help you to arrange a successful break.

Small companies with business space at Basepoint’s centres can rely on a whole range of services, including the management team and the availability of IT support, which will be there for your staff to rely on while you are away. Even if you don’t need office space at present, using a virtual office service from Basepoint means your customers will be able to send mail and leave phone messages while you are away.