By Gary Young, Equinox

Have you been able to take a break this year? As business owner do you put off going on holiday while you cover for other people? Perhaps you need to stop worrying about how your team will cope if you take a little time off!  Luckily there are many tech tools available to help.  Set them up and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy a holiday over the Christmas/New Year period, or plan one for the Spring.

Why a holiday is a positive for your business

Even business owners need a break. We want you to have a real holiday and not use technology to work in a hotel while family and friends go sightseeing or spend time on a beach without you.

Here’s a reminder of why it is important that you have some time off from your business:

Productivity: if you don’t take time off tiredness and stress build up. Over time this will reduce your productivity. Time off will help revitalise the body and refresh the mind. If you have a micro-business or are in the early stages of a startup, you have to accept there’s never a perfect time to go on holiday, but it is still something you need.

Handover: Look at a holiday handover as a chance to check how your team perform without you, and with some new responsibilities.  There are tools to help manage this, if your team facing a situation that they aren’t sure how to tackle, they’ll know how to reach you.

 

Maintenance: Having a holiday is like getting a piano retuned. It’s about the essential maintenance you need so that you can continue delivering a great product or service to your clients and build your business.

 

Family-time: As a business-owner you make the rules. These should include allocating family-time, especially holidays.

The tools to use in your business

 

Mobile Phone

At home, your phone is probably always immediately at hand. We hope when you’re on holiday you’ll turn it off or decide to check it regularly without it dominating your time.

Make clear to your team that you should only be contacted in an emergency. Tell clients when you’ll be away, and which team member should be their first port of call.  You may also choose to say that they can contact you if necessary.

Your phone gives you an invaluable tether to the internet. You’ll need this if your holiday destination doesn’t have WiFi available (or you are cyber-security conscious). For the time being data plans travel with you across Europe.  They can also be changed easily to include other parts of the world, usually with a per day fee from your provider.

Productivity and Focus Tools

If there is no escape from doing some work on holiday, organise yourself to have short bursts of concentrated and productive time.

Focus tools such as the Quickstarter POD are, effectively, timers to help concentration on one thing at a time.

You can use Cold Turkey Blocker so you can lock yourself out of your PC or Mac for a specific period of time. If they catch on your family might do this for you.

Another app to help maintain productivity when you are doing a burst of work is RescueTime.  This will keep you focused and stop you being distracted by blogs, social media sites etc.

Project Management Apps

Products such as Basecamp, Trello, and Microsoft Teams are increasingly popular. At work they are invaluable for keeping you aware of what is happening and what work needs prioritising on a daily basis.

When you’re on holiday, large numbers of notifications and emails from project management systems can become irritating. You can adjust the settings so that you receive notifications say twice a day. Or switch them off completely!

Outsourcing

When you are away the office phone will keep ringing. There are companies such as Answer who will cover your phones – charging as little as 90p per call. They text and email you or a member of your team so that one of you can respond as needed.

Similarly Virtual Marketing companies can keep your marketing activity flowing, unless your business has  something like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule activity before you depart.

As a business owner you may have plenty of energy, but you need some time to relax.  The tools are there to help you achieve this. Spend a little time deciding which ones to use.  You can then gain the benefits of delegating to your team.  With everything under control you can finally get away for a proper holiday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gary Young is Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Gary works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business.  www.equinoxcomms.co.uk

Twitter: @CommsEquinox