Taking time off from your business during the holidays is important not only for your sanity, but for the continued success of your business. Take a vacation -- even a short one -- and you'll come back to work rested, refreshed, and more productive. According to an article in BusinessWeek, taking a break will result in an 82% increase in job performance upon your return.
The key to enjoying your holiday is to treating it like one: shut down your computer, turn off your phone, and take a break from the stresses of managing your business.
Give Advance Notice
The best way to reduce holiday stress for yourself, your clients, and your customers is to let everyone know in advance that you're going to be unavailable. Send out communications a month in advance with the exact dates you'll be unavailable, and re-send it a week before the holiday.
- Make sure everyone knows that if they don't get ahold of you before the holiday, they'll have to wait until you're back in the office afterwards.
- Schedule deadlines and arrange your workflow to work around the holiday so that you're not rushing to get everything done the day before, and you're not swamped the minute you get back.
Set Up Automated Response
If someone calls or emails you during your break, they may not be aware that you've shut off your computer for the duration of the holiday. You can lose clients and customers if you don't provide them with a timely response to their inquiries. Rather than sacrifice your holiday time and family relationships in order to be available to your customers, set up automated responses in your email and on your phone.
- Set up an auto responder for your email address that will send out a pre-written message in response to any incoming emails.
- This message should include: the reason you're out of the office, the day that you expect to return, and an assurance that you will respond to them as soon as you are back.
- If another individual in the office is in charge while you're gone, include their contact information in the message.
- Set up your voicemail with the same information that you put in your email, and remind callers that you may not check your messages until after the holiday is over.
Shut Everything Off
According to a Hudson survey by Rasmussen Reports, more than 40% of entrepreneurs stay in touch with the office on most vacation days. 29% of vacationing business owners contact their business every day that they're on vacation. Don't give in to the urge to undermine your holiday by checking your email or voicemail or calling the office.
- Turn off your phone. You can leave an emergency number with the office if they really need to reach you, but you shouldn't be taking calls or listening to messages at the dinner table.
- Turn off your computer. Enjoy the mental freedom that comes with taking a break from email and the internet. Trust that your automated email response will keep everyone informed of where you are and when you'll be back, and don't look at your emails until you're back at work.
This holiday season, treat your holiday for what it is: a holiday from work. Turn off your devices, ignore the urge to check your messages, and concentrate on relaxing and enjoying your time with you family and friends.
Photo credit: slackerwood.com