Small Business Owners: Taking a Vacation Will Help Your Brand, Not Hurt It
by Patricia Claybrook
We use sunscreen to protect our skin. We create passcodes to secure our belongings. And plan vacations to unwind the mind. So why then are small business owners so afraid to unplug? In a 2017 survey by OnDeck Capital, only 32 percent of SBOs say they generally plan time away.
We get it – delegation is scary. Profits might suffer. Clients may need you. The spinning plate of priorities can fall off its axis and cease to exist.
But really… is that true?
Here’s the reality…
A study from the State University of New York reports that men between the age of 35 and 57 who were at risk of heart disease and didn’t take a week-long vacation are roughly 30 percent more likely to pass from a heart attack. And, according to a study from the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, women who vacation less than once every two years were more prone to depression and chronic stress.
Still not worried about your health? The average worker forfeits $604 of paid time off, and in a twist of irony, tends to underperform. This workaholic culture runs employees ragged, with most equating time off as a detriment toward a promotion.
Small business owners, here’s your chance to set an example. But if you find it hard to break away and take extended time for yourself, there are creative, short-term solutions. With a healthy dose of consistency and commitment, you’ll set the pace and a healthy precedent for all of those around you.
Start with these ideas:
- Plan a weekend staycation.
Pledge to leave work at your desk. And forget about cutting the grass. Pick up something recreational instead, like hiking or biking new trails.
- Say goodbye to your Wi-Fi.
Stash your phone and tablet in a drawer and only check your devices at strategic times. Set up an “out of office” reply and take an extended lunch. Better yet, treat employees with take-out and set up an impromptu outdoor picnic.
- Host a fun trivia night.
Surprise the people in your life with a fun, planned group activity. Not only will it loosen up those creative juices, but you may also find inspiration in an unexpected place.
- Run a 5K.
You don’t need to finish first, but engaging in a commitment that requires both consistency and time away from the office is a good thing. Also, the release of endorphins will increase your mental state – a coup for your business.
- Conquer a bucket list item.
Have you wanted to climb a mountain, learn to paddleboard or master a second language? Schedule something new and put it on your calendar. Treat this precious block of time like a Tuesday board meeting. It’s non-negotiable and contributes to your energy and focus — period.
- Book a spontaneous road trip.
You’ll need three things: a state map, a thumbtack, and a blindfold. Without peeking, pinpoint a town on the map (your choice of radius) and take a short trip. No agenda or planning ahead – you’ll be surprised at how everything organically unfolds.
- Commit to the real thing
Take the plunge. Look at your schedule and coordinate an extended getaway (seven days or more). Dole out assignments and responsibilities to your staff beforehand. Devise rules around outreach and ask for a progress report, so you’re not wondering what’s happening in your absence.
By slipping into one or more of these vacation substitutes this summer (or even the real thing), you’ll be much less stressed and improve your business bottom line at the same time.
If you enjoyed this article, please pass it on.