Time Off for Small Business Leaders: Yes, You Do Need It

Time Off for Small Business Leaders: Yes, You Do Need It

Posted January 26, 2016 by Christina Taler in Benefits and Perks
Owning a business is stressful, but so is not taking any time off. Find out how you can prepare your team for your much-needed vacation.

Leading a business isn't as much a 9-5 job as a 24-hour lifestyle. You're no stranger to the hard work and sacrifice that comes with your company’s growth — and in the battle for balance, R&R are usually the first sacrifices to the entrepreneurial gods.

But the question you should be asking yourself is whether that's really the best strategy for running a business. While we all agree that taking time off is nice, it’s easy to forget just how vital such breaks are to our physical and mental well-being.

Research backs up the importance of taking time off. The Framingham Heart Study showed that women who took a vacation at least twice a year were eight times less likely to have a heart attack or develop heart disease when compared to those who seldom took vacation. The findings were just as true for men. Those who took time off were 30% less likely to have a heart attack than their counterparts.

You probably won't take full advantage of policies such as unlimited vacation, but by going through the following steps, you can reap the benefits — even while running a business.

Prepping For Time Off

Plan Ahead

You know your role is important, so avoid taking an impulse vacation. The more advance warning you can give your staff, the better equipped they'll be to handle the business in your absence. It should go without saying to plan your vacation for a slower period as well.

Identify and Delegate Action Items

Understand your role and divide daily tasks among the senior staff who are best suited to fill those areas. That also goes for deciding what they don't need to do — take stock and decide which tasks aren't essential for operations while you're gone for a week or two. This helpful checklist also has 20 do's and don'ts for taking time off 

Create a Contingency Plan

What kinds of issues are likely to come up while you’re gone, and who among your team is best equipped to handle them? Once you’ve identified those people, instruct them to take on the new responsibilities a few weeks before you leave so that you can guide them while you’re there. This is also a great way to let your staff increase their responsibilities and develop skills in a safe harbor. 

Don't Check in to Check Out

Thanks to modern technology, it's possible to remain connected even in the most remote parts of the world. That said, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. To reap the full benefits of your vacation, truly let yourself take a break. By this point, you’ve created a contingency plan so that your staff can handle the most predictable things that might come up, and they also now know under what emergency circumstances they should call you. Trust that they will and put down the phone. 

Spread it out with Smart Vacations

If the idea of leaving your office for two weeks causes more panic than it will offset, perhaps your solution is to take several “mini-vacations.” A day off work here and there can give you a chance to catch your kid’s game or just spend quality time with a surprise for your spouse. A long weekend and smart vacation nearby will do wonders and will gradually alleviate your anxiety as you build up longer chunks of time away from your business.

Lastly, remember that a business’ strength is derived from its unique human capital, which deserves the investment in your well-being just as much as anything else. 

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This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.