No matter how difficult small business owners may find it to pull themselves away from work, we are all recommended to take short breaks from our desks throughout the working day for our well being.
What is even more beneficial, is to take an extended break from the office altogether, and what better time to do so than in the height of summer. Small business owners may immediately break into a cold sweat about taking a temporary step back from proceedings, but returning to the office refreshed and recharged may be the best thing that you do for both your business and your own piece of mind.
Resist the urge to check your emails, return those calls which you know deep down aren’t entirely urgent and discover why you should take a well-earned break this summer… without the guilt.
It’s nothing efficient planning can’t deal with
You’ll find yourself in a similar situation to the 30% of small business owners who failed to take a holiday last year (Sage research) if you don’t think about your forward planning. Unless you experience a sudden down turn in business, there will always be deadlines to hit and meetings to attend, so give your clients and colleagues sufficient warning- 6-8 weeks if possible.
Tools such as WhosOff, an online staff leave planner will allow you to see at a glance when staff have planned their holidays so resource can be managed effectively to cover these periods. If you are understaffed to a great extent consider the services of a virtual PA to handle calls and admin, allowing your key players to attend to the money spinning.
Your health will thank you
It is recommended that workers take a break every 62 days to avoid burnout. Don’t forget that the last quarter is typically the busiest for most sectors, so in order to have enough stamina and enthusiasm to get you through it is important you are in optimal mental and physical health.
Jonny Gillford of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development explains the counter-productive nature of failing to take a break:
“It’s important to realise that a healthy business requires a healthy leader. If you’re not taking proper care of yourself, and that includes taking a break, you’re also not taking proper care of your business.”
What’s more, research on reducing stress levels with a holiday or break is fairly conclusive, so if you’ve been feeling rather snowed under with stress at dizzying heights this could be your quickest and most beneficial solution.
We aren’t into scare mongering, but a study of 13,000 men at risk for heart disease revealed that skipping their summer holiday actually elevated their risk of having a heart attack. A risk worth taking? Definitely not.
It may stimulate that light bulb moment
Busy minds may push you to new levels that you were previously not aware of, but it is more than likely that you wouldn’t be able to think clearly or have those moments of genius when your mind is clouded. An extended time away can help rejuvenate your mind, enabling you to see things in a new light.
Work carried out by Stellan Ohlsson in Your Brain at Work explores this theory that we need to stop thinking about a problem one way before a new solution can emerge.
She explains that,
“At work new answers to tough problems are more likely to emerge into mind when you haven’t thought about a problem for a while.”
When at the pool or visiting a famous landmark you might achieve the clarity you need to take your next significant obstacle such as hitting your next milestone in terms of turnover, or a USP for your next product launch.
Now you can utter a sign of relief that your business will also benefit from a break, it is time to set that ever so satisfying “out of office” message, pack your bag and indulge in some “me” time on the beach, cocktail (not smartphone!) in hand.