How to go on sabbatical from your business

There are times in life when you just need a break.

If you have been working on your business for years, forgoing holiday celebrations and vacations in favor of pursuing your business goals, then there’s a good chance you’re long overdue a break. Business owners who don’t take time for themselves will soon find themselves facing burnout, and everything they worked for in their business will soon suffer in turn.

However, the majority of small business owners don’t take a break; never mind the kind of extended break that might truly help them reset and recuperate from the years of work. The reason that small business owners don’t like to take time off is because they worry about what will happen to their business if they do.

Can staff be trusted? Will operations continue as normal without the watchful eye of the boss? What if someone overlooks something and the opportunity for a deal passes your business by?

The same goes for employees who might have neglected the fact that a vacation is past due. Like many of you know, I got married a few weeks ago and took a week off to relax. That vacation was long overdue and much needed.

I don’t regret taking that time off if I’m being completely honest with you.

Sometimes, we get so tied down in work and in our lives so much that we fail to take a break, reflect, and ultimately make better plans. Christmas is around the corner again and I’m dropping this post for you to make a conscious decision to take some time off to recharge. I’m also telling myself this because we must all hold each other accountable as a family.

Yes, we are a family!

Remind yourself that a few days off work won’t stop your company from carrying out business as usual. You’ll get back soon enough to carry on from where you left things behind.

Understandable as these concerns might be, working yourself into the ground to try and prevent issues is not the answer. Instead, you need to utilise a few systems and techniques that can allow you to take that much-needed sabbatical, and ensure that you have a business to come home to.

How to take a vacation from work

1) Oversee From Afar

Just because you’re not in the office day-in-day-out doesn’t mean that you can’t oversee everything that’s happening in your business or at work. There’s a plethora of different software available that can help you keep an eye on your business, even if you’re halfway around the world while doing it.

Contact companies experienced in the implementation of SAP Business One to oversee manufacturing processes, while the cloud-based Sage accountancy software can allow you to check on the business income and expenditure without being in the office.

Try and restrict yourself to checking in with the business once a day, then put the laptop to one side and focus on relaxing. Even as an employee, if you’re so worried about what’s going on at work, you can go through your email once to stay updated. 

But really, relax, because that’s what a vacation is truly about.

2) Appoint A Substitute “You”

All businesses need a central figure; the person who can break deadlocked arguments and has the final say on business decisions. You’re usually that person, but if you’re taking some time out, appoint someone to stand in for you– and ensure everyone in the company accepts that your substitute’s word is final.

Obviously, you have to pick someone you trust; someone who you are confident knows the business well, and can handle the pressure. Your substitute can always refer issues to you if required, but try to encourage them to limit this– you’re in need of a break after all, and you have faith in their decision-making abilities.

And if you’re an employee, it’s expected that your substitute will be someone most likely below you in order of hierarchy. Or another team member in your department or colleague. You know best, delegate duties and relax as much as your body requires.

3) Use Mystery Shoppers

If you want to take an extended break — over a month, for example — then mystery shoppers are a great option to ensure your business is running as it should be. You can hire shoppers who act as a standard client (for services businesses) or customer (for retail businesses) would.

They will go through the process of placing an order or making a purchase, and can then feed back to you how well your company dealt with their request. Hopefully, all will be well, but if not, at least you know about it and can contact your substitute to take action.

With the right systems in place, you can take the break you need without breaking your business.

Have you taken a vacation lately? How did it go? Leave a comment behind, I’ll love to hear back from you. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for regular updates and exclusive information.

*This is a collaborative post.