By Max Clarke
72% of business owners who go away on holiday are unable to leave work behind when taking time off.
Despite being on holiday, nearly three quarters of small business owners surveyed by Intuit- makers of financial management software for smaller enterprises- work when they are away while one in seven indicated that they spend as much time or more time working than relaxing.
Around a third of business owners worry about leaving their business behind when on holiday and a further 22% feel more stressed during their first day back at work than before they left for their breaks.
“Everybody needs to take time off now and then but our findings show that small business owners never switch off, even when they could really do with switching off,” said Pernille Bruun-Jensen, managing director, Intuit UK.
The survey found that women feel more anxious about their business than men with 43% of female small business owners saying they worry about taking a break from the business. In addition, small business owners in the retail and hospitality & leisure sectors worry more than most about leaving their businesses behind when going away (47% and 49% respectively); highlighting the tough economic conditions they face at present. 35 — 44 year olds are more likely to be more stressed when they return from holiday than before they went.
As a result of these concerns, small business owners are resorting to ‘workcations’ to ensure they can still have a holiday but keep an eye on the business at the same time. Mobile devices are allowing them to do so with half of holidaying small business owners using their laptop for work while 70% take advantage of their mobile phones for work purposes whilst on holiday.
“The key,” continued bruun-Jensen, “is to work as efficiently as possible when on holiday so these entrepreneurs can spend more time nearer the pool than by the laptop. While small business owners feel it necessary to work on holiday, there are ways in which they can keep on top of the business but still make the most of their break.”
How can holidaying small business owners ensure the business is running smoothly and still have fun in the sun? Here are the top 10 mobile business tools and applications that small business owners can utilise while enjoying their break:
1. Skype. Need to make business calls but worried about dialling out internationally and racking up a huge phone bill? With this popular tool, you can make free Skype to Skype calls no matter where you are as well as engage in instant messaging and video chat — what better way to gloat about your holiday destination than have the picturesque setting in the background!
2. QuickBooks Online. Keep one eye on your finances and the other on your pina colada with this web-based financial management tool. Accessible via any desktop or laptop with internet connection or even a mobile phone with a web browser, this handy application will allow you to keep tabs on your cash flow and track your VAT returns while soaking up the sun’s rays.
3. Uber Social. Don’t worry about being unable to engage your customers through social media channels while on holiday. With this cool app, you can still update and manage your Twitter and Facebook accounts from anywhere and keep tabs on what your followers and friends are saying about your business.
4. PDF Notes. We’ve all been there when an important PDF document comes through to your mobile but you can’t open or edit the file. These frustrating moments can now be avoided with PDF Notes, which lets you view and edit PDF documents — even on the beach!
5. Cisco WebEx Meeting Center. Don’t let a crucial meeting prevent you from going away on that well deserved break. Now you can attend meetings via WebEx as well as interact with other meeting attendees. If you can’t bear to attend the meeting while enjoying your city break, you can always view the content shared during the meeting.
6. Analytics. If your business has a website and you are worried about how it is doing while you are on holiday, then not to fear. With this app, you can check how much traffic is being driven to your website and make sure that you are always in the know, even on the plains of the Serengeti!
7. Toodledo. Take the stress out of your time off by making sure you don’t miss a trick with this nifty to-do list app. Now you can make a note of all those important things that come to your mind when on holiday but need to do once you are back behind the helm of your business.
8. Simplenote. From the Alps to Down Under, the Nile to the Grand Canyon, all of these wonders of the world can be a source of inspiration for many entrepreneurs. Be sure to jot these thoughts down rather than wait to return home with this note-taking app.
9. LinkedIn. Need to contact a business client but don’t have their details while on your break? With LinkedIn you can access your professional network and find out how to best make contact with them from wherever you are in the world.
10. GoogleDocs. Planning on working on business documents while on holiday? Well no need to worry about taking USB sticks with you everywhere. Simply create a document in GoogleDocs and as long as you can access the internet you’ll be able to open and edit those all important files.
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