As the holiday season approaches, many people plan to take some time off and celebrate with loved ones, but what does this mean for you if you’re a business owner? How do you ensure your business survives in your absence and runs smoothly?
Here are some tips to relieve your anxieties so you can enjoy the holidays without jeopardizing your business.
Identify Essential and Nonessential Tasks
Choose a reliable and capable fill-in to handle for essential tasks that can’t wait, such as payroll. Leave a trusted employee/manager in charge to oversee other essential tasks and projects.
Depending on the structure of your company, you may already have a hierarchy in place. Still, if you don’t, it’s imperative to have someone who can monitor workflows, answer the business phone/email, be there for technical support, or be available for questions that may arise.
And for tasks that can wait… put them off. Understand you can let them go. For example, you can put off training until after you’ve returned. You can reschedule a meeting or have a client meet with another colleague.
You should enjoy your vacation without worrying that nonessential tasks might fall by the wayside. It’s okay if you take time for self-care. Any business should allow for busy times and time to spend with family or to take care of yourself. The Harvard Business Review found that “94% of vacations have a good ROI in terms of your energy and outlook upon returning to work.”
Have Set Expectations
Make sure essential, time-sensitive tasks are managed while you’re out for the holidays. The rest of the non-pressing matters can wait until you return. Delegate crucial tasks to your team so work doesn’t pile up and become a mountain when you return.
You may not want to spend the week before your vacation scrambling to train an employee on an essential procedure. Especially when you have a small team, it’s ideal if your employees are competent to fill in and wear multiple hats so no bottlenecks cause issues when you’re gone. Plan ahead: train throughout the year. If you return from a holiday to find that something was delayed because your employees didn’t know how—or didn’t have digital permissions—to handle something important, add that item to your training list. Next year, or next vacation, the business will be better prepared to handle your absence.
Additionally, if you know an essential project will begin during your time away, but you’re the only person on the team who knows how to do certain tasks for that project, determine if it’s possible to complete some of them before you leave or put off the start of the project until you return.
Hire a Standby Management Service
Here’s one you may not immediately think of: Hire an agency to handle your social media accounts in your absence and manage your website. This ensures that your online presence stays up to date and any problems that may arise can be quickly addressed while you’re away.
Having a service to handle these essential marketing functions will allow your team to focus on the operations tasks.
Don’t Forget to Use a Vacation Responder
Set an automated email that lets colleagues and customers know how long you’ll be gone and whom to contact in your absence. This is a great way to keep clients and customers in the loop. Most major email programs like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook have this feature. Just go to your email settings to get started.
Generally, you specify which dates you’ll be gone, then compose a message that will travel to people who email you. Some systems allow you to set whether someone receives the message only once or every time they contact you.
The message can be simple and short—or long and complex. Information you can share might include when you expect to return, whom the writer can get in touch with while you’re gone (and their contact information), and any other resources or information that may be helpful.
Remember: once you’ve identified your essential and nonessential tasks, make sure everything is handled either internally or by a standby service, let non-pressing tasks go if necessary, and don’t forget to use your vacation responder.
If you need extra help managing your digital presence while you’re away from your business on holiday—or even while you’re not!— contact us! We can manage your website, social media, digital ads, and more.