What is your holiday strategy?
School’s out for summer. Though summer doesn’t necessarily mean any let up – in a senior role how do you juggle work and family – and maybe actually having some downtime too? Our clients have developed their own strategies. What’s yours?
Your holiday strategy…
As the CEO or owner of your firm or someone with a senior-level position in your company, can you really ever take time off?
A study conducted by the BBC in 2015 concludes that having time off work without the company going into chaos is indeed possible. But the key is being intentional about your holiday strategy..
Here’s what some of our clients do:
1. Take short breaks
It may be early days for your team, who aren’t quite ready to take the reins for long periods. But if you aim for short breaks, it’s a great way to test the waters, and you may find that everyone can cope perfectly in your absence.
So start slowly. Take long weekends off or a week or two a few times a year. This allows you to focus on family and have some downtime in short bursts.
If your staff made good decisions and handled anything that arose during your absence, you know you can perhaps extend your next holiday. And if they experienced a few glitches here and there, you have the opportunity to agree a plan with them for next time.
2. Take a month off
One of our clients – the CEO of her firm – takes a month off every year. She books that time a year in advance – it is always for a month and always at the same time of year. That means that everyone, inside and outside the business, knows exactly what to expect. She will be offline during that time. And everyone in her support system can work around and plan for that.
It goes without saying that our client does not have much in the way of holiday at other times of the year. And her husband and children understand that while she travels and works hard for 11 months a year, they can always count on her undivided attention for a whole month. Every single year. Consistently.
As a holiday strategy, this works for her, her family, and her firm. And it also makes an important statement. If the leader of the company can take a whole month off every year, it means that she fully trusts everyone to carry the business in her absence.
3. Go off-season
Some of our clients find that taking holidays over off-peak periods works better for them. Depending on their sector, it could be that times that are traditionally quieter (business-wise) may not be optimal for a relaxing family holiday away.
For example flights and travel arrangements over Christmas have a greater chance of being delayed or disrupted. So if work and school commitments allow it, travel off-peak. Fewer colleagues will be away at the same time, and the holiday budget goes further. The secret: is good planning.
4. Stay connected
If switching off from work completely is not an option, you may decide to take work with you.
Does this allow you to completely relax and disconnect from work? Probably not. But if knowing that your team can contact you is important to you, this could be the right holiday strategy for you at this point in your career and business.
Some clients tell us that they carry less stress and worry knowing their teams can reach them, and setting pre-agreed times of day when they are open to being contacted, and then off-line completely works well for everyone at home and on holiday.
5. Week-on-week-off pattern
Following what she refers to as ‘a particularly disastrous school summer holiday’, one of our clients has developed her own week-by-week holiday strategy.
As the owner of her own successful company, our client had tried to balance being at home with her children and taking care of business simultaneously. But she found herself run ragged, with everyone and everything being compromised.
So she now breaks her summer into a weekly pattern:
· Week 1 and 2 are for the annual family holiday
· Week 3, she is back at work for 3 or 4 days (with childcare pre-booked)
· Week 4, she is off-line and committed to doing fun activities with the children
· Week 5, repeat week 3
· Week 6, repeat week 4
She also adds,
“Of course, when you run your own business you are never truly ‘off work’, but my commitment in those ‘off-line’ weeks is to my children. To be with them. To take them out. To actually have fun together rather than shunting them between childminder, grandparents, friends, and activity clubs.
Yes, I check email and head off to my garden office to get things done, but my clients know I'm not around for ‘work work’. And equally, they know that when I am around in ‘at work’ weeks, I am truly there for them”.
6. Delegate everything
Yes take the plunge. Carve up everything you are doing, and delegate each piece to the most appropriate team member. Upscale their responsibilities, fill them with confidence and watch them rise to the challenge. Do this at work and at with your home support network.
It might take that extra bit of support, so do this in advance of your departure so that everyone has time to check their understanding and ask questions before you disappear.
The best part is that when you return, you may not need to take all of it back again.
You deserve holiday as much as anyone. Formulating a holiday strategy that works allows both your private life and your work life to flourish is a key part of your wider success strategy.
What is your holiday strategy?