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3 ways small business owners can unplug on vacation

Posted 8 months ago in Small business by Keri Gohman
Posted by Keri Gohman

With only half of all U.S. businesses making it past year five, the pressure on small business owners to survive is astronomical. Between managing employees, customers and finances, finding the time to take a vacation is challenging for small business owners. And it’s only becoming more difficult for them to take the time they need to truly unplug.

A recent Xero survey of US small business owners found that only 14 percent of respondents say they can completely check out while on vacation, as compared to 54 percent of American workers.

On a more positive note, the survey found that the vast majority of business owners are taking much-needed time off. Fifty-five percent clock in at least two weeks of vacation every year.

Vacation time used to be synonymous with lying on the beach and escaping the office. The universal nature of technology today means that your office can be anywhere, even that beachside cabana. Meaning that if business owners are getting away, they’re rarely disconnected. Eighty-five percent of small business owners admit to working while on vacation. Alarmingly, a similar percentage experience work-related stress during what should be a relaxing time.

As an entrepreneur today, how do you escape the inescapable demands of work? With the right tools and preparation, you can evolve how you think about vacation in today’s connected world.

Top Tips for Unplugging on Vacation

1. Prepare and set expectations with your teams

Seventy-eight percent of Xero’s survey respondents had an employee or subcontractor contact them whilst on vacation. This aligns to the 80% who find themselves stressed during this time. For businesses with employees, you’ll be able to disconnect more easily on vacation by planning ahead and setting expectations. Before you fly, check-in with everyone to make sure they have everything you need. Put in a call to your business advisors including your accountant to make sure the numbers are looking good. The last thing you want is your cash flow or inventory to dip into the red while you’re gone.

2. To stay offline, schedule online time

It may be impractical for many, including parents, to leave your phone at home, but it’s healthy to be able to log out of work-related communication apps where you can during your time off. Designate time periods where you’ll be online during your vacation, whether it be an hour every morning, so you can be available if you’re needed. You might consider telling your employees to contact you via text or call in case of emergencies, or provide an alternate number such as the hotel’s.

3. Leverage the latest technology

When used correctly, cloud technology can enable vacation, rather than inhibit it. Rather than banning themselves from technology altogether on vacation, many small business owners employ the 80:20 rule. Whereby they focus 80 percent of their holiday time on leisure and 20 percent on work. Many business owners find telling their employees that they can reach them online reassures them. Remain connected, yet relaxed, knowing that your business will be able to run without you physically being there.

The survey also revealed Xero is enabling entrepreneurs to take more vacation compared to those not on the platform. Of the survey respondents that were Xero users, 69% had taken a week or more of vacation in the last 12 months. Comparatively, only 55 percent of non-Xero users had taken a vacation in the last 12 months. The cloud has unlocked the potential for business management tools to take all the pieces of a business life – finances, accounting and banking – to work together in one place. Giving them more time to spend on growing their business, not managing the numbers.

Technology gives business owners more flexibility to stay connected while away. Yet, it also keeps people on the job when they’re supposed to be off. It is important that small businesses owners take their vacation time to look after their mental health and wellness.

Failing any of our strategies to ensure proper relaxation and rejuvenation on your getaway, we won’t tell anyone if you leave your phone behind at the hotel for an afternoon.

Read more about the survey results.

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