Taking time off: how to leave your business in good hands and really enjoy a break

Everyone knows that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” but when you run your own building business it can be difficult to take a break without worrying that your business will fall over in your absence.

Here are five tips to help you take a real break from your building business, without sacrificing your bottom line as a result.

1) Consider your timing

As a builder, it can be easier to schedule holidays at the end of the calendar year, when much of the industry takes a collective break. Client expectations tend to drop off straight after Christmas and throughout much of January, making this an ideal time to book in a getaway.

But what if you want to take holidays at another time of year? Keep reading…

2) Train your people to fill your shoes

Having confidence in your team is vital if you’re going to take a break and really enjoy it.

Provide your staff with clear instructions on how to handle the business – including how to manage emergencies – in your absence. Choose and upskill a capable member of your team to act as your second-in-command. From on-site flooding to client complaints to staff calling in sick, if your 2IC knows how to handle most issues without your direct input, there’s less likelihood you’ll spend your whole holiday trouble-shooting.

3) Use technology to stay on top

Take advantage of modern technology to manage some of your business admin tasks while you’re away on leave. Schedule payments to staff and suppliers using online banking. Ditto invoices, which can be scheduled to send on your preferred date via standard cloud-based accounting software such as Xero and Quickbooks.

If your business has an active presence on social media you can use a service like Hootsuite to schedule posts on Facebook.

4) Set up an ‘out of office’ auto respond email

This small action can relieve many of the headaches of taking time away from running your own building business. Whether you use Outlook, Mail or another email program, setting up an ‘out of office’ auto respond email takes just a few minutes but provides clients – current and prospective – with the instant information they need to manage their query in your absence. Don’t forget to include when you’ll be back, and contact details of the person wearing your hat while you’re gone.

5) Focus on the positives of taking a break

According to this story, more than 55 per cent of small business owners never travel without their phone. Yet taking a proper break from work has been shown to deliver mental health benefits for up to a month after you return. Taking holidays of six days or more has also been linked to lower stress, a boost in the immune system and even lowers levels of proteins linked to dementia and depression.

Taking a break from work isn’t just enjoyable – it’s essential. Switching off and relaxing on holiday improves your chance of returning to work refreshed, more positive and productive – and perhaps even more profitable!

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