You’ve worked hard to get your business to where it is today, likely putting in long hours, replying to emails (when technically you shouldn’t be working), or sacrificing your weekends. Eventually, there comes a time you need a day off, or dare we say, a vacation. This means leaving your business in the hands of capable staff.
Before you start feeling too guilty about leaving “your baby,” remember that everyone needs to take a day off sometimes, whether it’s for enjoyment or practical reasons. It’s good for your health – both mental and physical, and actually a good measuring stick to see how far your company has come. Can it function smoothly during your absence?
Of course, there is some satisfaction in needing to be needed, but if you’ve laid the groundwork and your foundation is solid, your business should be able to survive without you, at least, for a little while.
If you haven’t done this before (or it’s been awhile), you’re likely a bit apprehensive. Does your staff have the survival skills to stay afloat with you? How about a week or more? Before you get too worried, here are some ways you can prepare your office and team for your inevitable absence.
Prepare your office by easing into it
If you’re about to take a week or two off, but have never left your staff to “fend for themselves” then it may not go as well as if you were to have a few practice runs. Instead of waiting until you need to leave, try easing into it by finding occasions to leave for half the day. Then you can leave for a whole day and see how it goes, then leave for two days and so on. Once your employees are comfortable running the show without you for a couple days, it’ll be a lot easier to relax when you do take leave and won’t be available.
Establish a routine
The more systems, routines, or protocols you have in place, the more your business can run like a well-oiled machine in your absence. This might not be possible for every aspect of your business, but the procedures or routines you have will make your team ready to anticipate needs, and not so reliant on supervision.
Aside from making it easier for employees to run the business unsupervised, it’s also easier to figure out areas of improvement, like where there’s a ‘cog’ in the system. This allows you to keep perfecting your process, moving you towards better efficiency.
Have a list of resources available
Just like a babysitter given a list of contact numbers, your staff should have a reference guide to all foreseen issues. Think of your special list of contacts or the tasks that you typically take care of that others might need, such as:
- Ordering important supplies
- Number to the equipment repair guy
- Contact info to the landlord in case heating, cooling, or lighting fails
- IT Department
- Passwords and account logins
Prepare your office for the worst scenerio
By preparing for the worst, we don’t mean expecting the worst, just having a plan in case a disaster strikes. If you can anticipate potential pitfalls or emergencies, then you can create a list of possible scenarios and solutions for each one. This way, even if you aren’t around or able to be reached, your staff will know how you would react and what you’d want your company to do.
Know who you can trust
When interviewing candidates, make sure that your criteria includes someone trustworthy and reliable. Do your employees need to be micromanaged in order for them to get their work done, or can they successfully manage their own time? Eventually, your team should get to the point where they can run on “auto-pilot,” meaning they can take care of the day-to-day tasks without needing supervision.
Having reliable, trustworthy employees will make it a lot easier if there’s ever a time you have to leave for a holiday or emergency. You should also know which of your employees might be the readiest to take on a leadership role while you’re away. You can give that person special tasks that may help the rest of your staff during your absence.
Share Your Expectations
If you haven’t thought about how you want your company to be represented or what your vision is, it’s time to start.
Having vision and standards for your company gives your employees something to maintain while you’re away. If there is a standard to maintain or a vision that everyone is working towards, it’s easier to take time off and know you and your employees are on the same page regarding your goals for the company.
When you take the time to take care of yourself, you’ll be in a better mental and physical condition to do your best work. A business will have a hard time thriving when the owner is burnt out, stressed, and overworked. Remember to take some time for yourself, and use these tips to prepare your office next time you need a vacation.