Why you need a holiday from your business

07 August 2017

Running a successful business takes time and energy. But every business owner needs time away from the business to recharge their batteries – time to recuperate, make plans and learn to see the company from the outside in. So how do you make holiday time as relaxing (and productive) as you possibly can?

Stuart Budd, our brand new Commercial Director, runs us through his own pre-holiday planning, and explains why getting everything organised well in advance means more time for relaxation, recuperation and reflection on the future direction of your business.

We’re all going on a summer holiday…

As I enter into those last 48 hours prior to my own holiday, as well as getting everything sorted at home (does that t-shirt still fit?) I’m rushing around at work trying to tie up any loose ends before I leave. I know my final task and dilemma will be my out-of-office message.

Should I go for the ‘I’m off for two weeks, leave me alone!’ option, or the ‘Only contact me if it’s urgent, I won’t be checking emails every day…’ approach? In the end, I’ve opted for the classic ‘I will respond to your email on my return’ message… so we’ll see how stuffed my email inbox is on my return from holiday.

Learning to relax, recuperate and reflect

So, why is having a holiday such an important thing for a busy business owner?

Apart from the obvious reasons for having time off – i.e. spending time with family, relaxing, recharging your batteries etc. – a holiday also provides time to reflect on the direction your business is going outside of the day-to-day running of the company. Importantly, it forces you to ‘let go’ – which is often hard for business owners and senior management – and put trust in those people you’re now relying on to run the business.

50% of us make life changing decisions when on holiday, according to recent research, and will spend six hours of our holiday mulling over our future plans. Indeed, a previous holiday may even have been the catalyst for starting your own business – so don’t let the opportunity to relax, recuperate and reflect (the three Rs) be distracted by work emails and calls.

However, if you’re struggling with letting go and need to be in contact with HQ whilst on holiday then there are a number of ways that you can manage this effectively and still optimise the all-important ‘three Rs’

Staying in touch with the mothership

There used to be a time (not so long ago) when effectively keeping in touch with HQ meant taking your laptop on holiday, and then using a cable to connect to the hotel broadband to download your messages. There was also the ever-present worry of daring to turn on your mobile for fear of incurring massive roaming charges for picking up any voicemail messages or sending a text.

But, in 2017, with the availability of Wi-Fi in even the most remote holiday destinations and changes this summer in EU roaming regulations, it’s now far too easy to keep in touch and ‘just check emails after the latest update via social media’. As we all know, once you start scrolling through messages and Twitter etc., it’s very hard to stop…

So my advice would be to turn the phone off and enjoy the break – you ARE on holiday, after all.

Reflecting on your business

Take a good book (yes, one of those ones on paper) and use the time to reflect on how your business has changed since your last holiday. This is also a good time to ask yourself a very important and fundamental question:

‘Is this the business I envisaged owning when I first started out?’  

If the answer is no, then have a rethink about what you stand for. For example, why do your clients work with you and not with a competitor? It’s vital to ask these kinds of question about your business, and holiday time can be a great time to do this.

A few key questions to ask your may be:

Have a go at writing (or rewriting) your company’s manifesto and incorporating your above answers into some key statements of intent about HOW and WHY you’re in business.

The following article from our friends at Valuable Content may help inspire you and provide some tips on how to go about it: How to write a business manifesto

Top tips for keeping communication effective

If you’re thinking ‘Get serious, I can’t let go!’ then here are some ideas around how you can keep in touch and not get swamped with messages and emails.

  • Turn off notifications – Change your email and social media settings on your phone so it doesn’t pull messages and you need to physically go and get them.
  • Let people know you’re away – Tell your clients you’re on holiday and ideally don’t want to be disturbed – they have holiday’s too and will appreciate you being clear.
  • Have a ‘holiday email account’ – Create a dedicated holiday email account that only key employees and clients know about (or redirect emails into it) so you can filter out all the non-essential email traffic but be comfortable that any important issues get through.
  • Set the ground rules for contact – Agree rules with your employees (and key clients) about when and how to contact you, and on what topics. Agree an hour a day at the start of the morning as a time when you’ll be checking for any important issues.

If these ideas don’t work for you, it may be worth considering a new location for your next holiday – maybe somewhere where the internet usage is limited (a remote island)!

Who are FD Works?

Our team of accountants and business advisors are based between Bristol and Bath. We provide ambitious businesses with hands-on finance support and FD-level strategic advice, empowering them to make bold business decisions. 

Need to pin down your key goals?

Had your hols and still don’t know your core goals? We’ll help you get a handle on your key objectives.

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Stuart Budd, Commercial Director at FD Works