Everyone needs a vacation to refresh their minds and rejuvenate their spirits, to heal their bodies and restore their vision of possibilities, but small business owners often worry that if they leave for a week or more, their business will suffer irrevocable damage.
Sometimes, too, it’s not the fear of things falling apart in their absence that stops a small business owner from going on vacation, but it’s something more subtle — a subtle fear that when they return, they will have to work twice as hard to catch up on their backlog of to-do tasks.
As a result of these anxieties and concerns, a small business owner may continue to work hard and risk burnout, take only a short vacation, or go on vacation but continue to work while on vacation, staying in touch with the office by phone or through the Internet.
However, this reluctance to take a well-deserved vacation, may, in fact, not be the best decision. In fact, a study conducted by Intuit* showed that when small business owners took a vacation, 82 percent reported that they were much more effective at their jobs when they got back. Moreover, according to Christine Hohlbaum who wrote The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World, foregoing a vacation can also hurt the company.
1. A small business owner will be more likely to be highly productive upon their return.
When small business owners get a chance to go on vacation, they “charge their batteries.” A vacation is a chance to rejuvenate, to rest the mind and heal the body from the stresses and strains of running a business. Consequently, upon returning to work, the small business owner is much more likely to have a lot more mental and physical energy available to pour into the business. A refreshed perspective results in higher productivity.
2. A small business owner will develop new ideas on how to improve the business.
While on vacation, it is highly likely that the small business owner will be able to see the business from a whole new perspective. Consequently, it is entirely possible that this quiet time will lead to more creative ideas on how to run the business much better.
3. Key staff will learn leadership and independence.
Usually, when a small business owner is working on his or her business, he or she is making the most important decisions. By delegating the administrative work to key staff members, these executives now learn more about how to relate to vendors, employees, neighboring establishments, and even outsourcers. They learn to lead, think, plan, and problem solve. In essence, they are given room to become much better at the work that they do. Instead of following orders, they are now forced to take the initiative.
4. Employees will develop more collaboration.
Since employees are now on their own, they will work more closely with each other to figure out how tasks should be done. Previously, they could rely on the boss to give them clear directions. This collaboration will often lead to developing a productive team spirit.
5. Setting a positive precedent.
When a small business owner leaves on a vacation, this sets a new tone in the company. The boss is making quite clear that a life-work balance is possible for everyone in the company. This gives those employees who tend to turn down vacations to start accepting them. After all, if the boss can go on vacation, then, when their time comes, it’s permissible for them to go on vacation, too. The result of this less pressured attitude is that the company will have rested, productive staff and workers instead of people pushing themselves to the brink of exhaustion.