By Sue Higgins, founder and managing director of Inspira
Summer is here but the living is anything but easy if you are a business owner or manager with school age children juggling work and family life. Chances are, the prospect of the long school summer holidays is filling you with dread.
Not only have you got to sort out childcare but there’s the staff holidays to contend with, plus your own holiday looming – that’s if you’ve actually got time to get away.
Now is the time to think about how you are going to cope this summer and put in place some effective strategies to ensure this summer doesn’t leave you feeling frazzled and your business in disarray. Here are some useful tips:
1. Plan ahead – talk to your employees now about their availability over the summer. If you know some staff are on holiday at the same time, plan cover accordingly.
2. Seek temporary relief – temporary workers could be just what you need to fill in the gaps and allow your staff to enjoy their summer breaks. Specialist temping agencies can supply workers at short notice or consider placing an ad in the local paper.
3. School’s out for summer – consider taking on students or graduates looking for work experience. Enthusiastic, willing to learn and cost effective, they might just bring new ideas and a welcome breath of fresh air into your business.
4. Consider outsourcing – focus on revenue generating tasks this summer and think about outsourcing functions such as bookkeeping or human resources to free up you and your staff’s time. Outsourcing can be a valuable investment allowing you to concentrate on keeping clients happy and growing the business.
5. Clear the decks – get all your admin and paperwork out of the way now before the summer holidays. Make sure your documentation is logically filed so that if you are going away this summer, colleagues can easily find the information they need.
6. Communication is key – if you are planning on getting away from it all, don’t forget to tell important clients and suppliers when you will be out of the business. Think about how ‘available’ you want to be during your break. Checking your email every now and then may give you peace of mind and reassure clients everything is in hand. If you need a complete break, have a back-up plan and a good deputy in place.
7. Holiday handovers – ask staff to do proper ‘holiday handovers’ to you and/or colleagues before they take their annual leave. Are there any issues or outstanding queries to be aware of? Are customers and suppliers aware of who to contact in their absence?
8. Recharge your batteries – summer holidays are a great opportunity to regroup, recharge your batteries and rejuvenate your business. Taking time off is good for your health and happiness, family life and your businesss.
With a bit of planning and organisation, the approaching summer holidays needn’t be a cause for stress. You owe it to yourself to enjoy some downtime this summer if you can spare the time. Have fun, enjoy your summer and come back to work feeling reinvigorated and ready for new challenges!