Taking time away from the office is crucial not only for reducing stress, but also to gain new perspectives about your business. But a trip to the mountains or the beach won’t reduce your stress if you spend the entire time worrying about not having a company worth mentioning when you get back.
That’s why we asked 10 members from the Young Entrepreneur Council this question:
Q. What is your top tip for keeping your business running smoothly while you are on vacation?
1. Work ahead before leaving
Get as much stuff done as you can ahead of time. When you lighten the workload for your subordinates—possibly not having them to do any extra work at all—you’ll be that much more likely to have a stress-free and enjoyable vacation. —Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
2. Have a team you can trust
If you want to leave your business for a few days and have it run perfectly without you there, then it starts with the people you hire. You have to hire credible people who you can trust to do their jobs and prioritize the company and its customers at all times. Also, after hiring, you have to be able to recognize if there are employees who are not doing this—then promptly get rid of them! —Zev Herman, Superior Lighting
3. Work sporadically to stay tuned in
I found that unplugging is overrated and more stressful for business owners. If you’re to trying to unplug but, in reality, you’re itching to check your email every hour, then you shouldn’t unplug. I found my sweet spot is working for two hours every two days. I spend a couple hours making sure everything is running well in the morning, so I can take the next day and a half off. It’s relaxing. —Krish Chopra, Nurse Practitioner Clinical Rotations
4. Keep a great library of documented workflows
Create a wiki, Google Doc or WordPress site that allows you and employees to document how things get done. Ideally, someone is in charge of managing and cleaning up this content and making sure it stays up-to-date. When you have things documented, vacations become as easy as creating a list of “do x for y” tasks, which lets you and your employees rest easy. —Andrew Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings
5. Use the vacation as a chance to help your senior team members grow
Vacations are an excellent opportunity to give senior team members a chance to step up and take a turn at the helm. Make a trusted member of staff responsible for overseeing operations while you’re away. You can be confident the business is in safe hands, and the team member in charge gains valuable experience. —Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.
6. Create an “emergency only” email address
While it’s nice to fully unplug while on vacation, you have to make yourself available in the event an emergency arises. If you have a solid team in place, there is a good chance you will be able to enjoy your time away without being bothered, but not all emergencies can be avoided. Create a separate “emergency only” email address (and disable all others), and only reply to those emails on vacation. —Jonathan Long, Sexy Smile Kit
7. Use push notifications
There are a few critical times that you know you will want an immediate notification (e.g., site downtime). Set up some type of push notification—such as an automated email or asking a member of your team to message you—for these moments so that you’ll know that everything is fine unless you get this notification. Don’t manually “pull” information by checking and worrying about things unnecessarily. —Roger Lee, Captain401
8. Keep an eye on your analytics
Check in from time to time and keep an eye on your analytics and daily performance indicators. As much as people would like to completely turn off the business world when they are on vacation, as a boss, that’s not a luxury you get. You have a responsibility to your employees and the company you are managing to ensure that business is always running smoothly. —Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
9. Watch shared calendars
We use shared digital calendars across our entire team. Spot-checking how my employees schedule their days during the time I am away offers more than sufficient transparency into how they plan to hit their targets. Strong leadership should render micromanagement unnecessary. As long as deadlines and expectations are clearly communicated, allowing your team to set their own timelines works great. —Ryan Wilson, FiveFifty
10. Don’t be indispensable
If you’re a single point of failure for your business, you have bigger problems than not being able to relax on your vacation. I hire, train, and organize my team so that no individual—including myself—is completely indispensable. When I’m on vacation, I’ll check in now and then, but I trust my team to do the right thing. —Vik Patel, Future Hosting