In any business, vacations can often be a source of stress. While time off is essential for any professional to recharge and stay healthy, a missing team member does cause some disruption. When you’re responsible for running a business, it can feel as though taking time off is impossible.
Even if you’re only planning a short trip, you might constantly worry about your employees and struggle to relax.
From ensuring you communicate plans to your teams to creating a communication plan and a second-in-command, there are ways you can reduce the stress you might feel about an upcoming vacation. Here’s where you can get started.
Step 1: Empower Your Team to Survive Your Absence
You chose your team members, both internal and remote, because of their skills and abilities. This means you should be able to trust your staff to keep the business running when you’re away. However, you may need to think about providing a little extra training before you go.
As a business owner, it’s helpful to have a “second in command” who understands your daily tasks, so they can take over when you’re unavailable. It’s the person who can jump into action not only when you are away but also if you are ill, have a personal emergency, or have other matters.
Choose someone to act as the “supervisor” for the rest of your staff while you’re away, and make sure they’re prepared to handle any questions your team might have. It might also be helpful to provide additional training to other team members just in case your second-in-command isn’t available.
Having responsibilities spread out among other team members could make sense if you feel adding your workload to one person’s to-do list might be too much.
Step 2: Set Your Staff Up for Success
Aside from giving your employees extra training to prepare for when you’re away from the office, it’s also helpful to look for ways to show your team some additional support.
Start by making sure everyone is aware of your plans. All your team members should understand how long you’re going to be away, who will be taking over which tasks, and who they can turn to for help if there’s a problem when you’re unavailable.
AI bots and tools can take over when answering common questions and assisting your employees with routine tasks. You can set up automatic workflows, like scheduling social media posts, automating marketing messages, and sending out follow-up notes while you’re away.
It’s also worth outlining your expectations to your employees and colleagues before you go. Make sure your team members know the benchmarks you will be tracking when you get back and what results you hope to see.
Step 3: Stay Connected (Carefully)
In most cases, it’s essential to disconnect when you take some time off work. There’s nothing wrong with hitting “do not disturb” on Microsoft Teams and setting up an “out of office” message for your email. However, it’s hard to step back completely when you’re the boss.
Suppose you can’t imagine being completely removed from your team for your entire vacation; set up your wallboard so you can view stats and information about your team’s performance while you’re away. You can glance at your metrics whenever you’re stressed and even send a message to your colleagues if something needs addressing.
Having a comprehensive communication plan for when you’re gone is also helpful. For instance, you can tell your team only to message you directly when there’s an emergency and ask to be kept out of “group” emails to avoid an overwhelmed inbox.
Consider a Test Before You Go
If it’s the first time you’re going to be taking a big break as the leader of a team or the boss in your company, you’re bound to feel particularly nervous. In this case, it might be helpful to conduct a quick “vacation test” before you leave.
This exercise involves acting as though you’re not at work when you are and seeing how people interact and deal without your constant support.
Please keep track of the people who struggle, as they might need extra help. It’s also worth paying attention to your top performers in this situation, as they might be the people you want to give additional responsibilities to when you’re not around.
Once you’ve run your test and your wallboard is ready, you’ll be prepared to take your vacation stress free.