As a business owner, it is notoriously difficult to create a healthy work-life balance and commit to it. Especially in the early days, it usually means overtime, working weekends, and missing out on a lot of your personal life.
It can be challenge to balance professional and personal responsibilities during holidays even as a standard employee or manager, let alone as the business leader. Hopefully this advice is something you can implement this Christmas to fully enjoy time with friends and family while meeting workplace expectations.
Plan and Prioritise
If you know you want time off at Christmas, plan and request your annual leave as soon as you can. Most company policies follow a ‘first come, first served’ approach when it comes to approving holidays, so you want to get that request in early. If you are a business owner, make sure your staff know when you will be away and unavailable so they can keep operating smoothly in your absence. Shared information and collaborative working platforms are critical to ensure that your business can work without you, so everyone has access to the necessary documents. Make sure everyone knows which tasks are most important and what projects are need the most attention when you are absent.
Set a Schedule and Your Boundaries
Let’s say, as a business owner, you are still going to be available to your team over the holidays. Maybe you are planning to cut down your hours to four hours in the morning or three hours in the middle of the day. Or you could be moving to a three-day-week over the festive period. Set a schedule and establish a timetable with your team about when you will be working and when they can contact you with work-related messages. Be firm about your downtime and make sure they know that you will not be accessible in the hours you are taking off. Also, be strict with yourself. If you’ve set your working hours over Christmas, you need to stick to it and try not to be tempted to keep working. Emergencies happen, so having a line of communication in case of surprise events is important.
Not sure you can step away or take a full holiday. Working remotely can still provide you with the free time we all crave at Christmas, cutting out your commute and allowing you to work in a comfortable environment. You won’t have to endure the weather and spending time with family and friends will be easier to organise. Extend the freedom to your team, where possible. Giving everyone the chance to work remotely over the holidays will improve team morale and show your staff that you value their wellbeing as much as their hard work.
Hack the System
How much of your work could realistically be automated or scheduled ahead of time to give you and your team a break over Christmas? While setting up short-term automations and scheduling public and customer materials is not necessarily going to cover all of your workload, it could help lighten it over the holidays to allow you to work shorter hours or to lighten the workload to keep office and remote morale high.
Honesty and Rest
Be honest with yourself and make sure your team is honest with you. Are you burned out? Is your team doing well? How much do you think it would benefit your workforce if you could feasibly allow everyone to enjoy Christmas by closing operations for Christmas Eve and Day? Allowing everyone, again only if you can, the chance to rest and enjoy the holidays with their loved ones will help rejuvenate your team, show that you care, and have a team back in the new year that are thriving and ready to achieve. Business owners are notoriously bad at taking the time to rest. Do your best to not use the holiday time to pick up side-projects, other business ventures, or projects that you may have in the works. Not all your time has to be monetisable; take the time to be with your friends, family, pets, hobbies, and doing things you love that aren’t connected to your professional self.