What is so important about taking annual leave? I get it – things get busy, you may be understaffed, or you’re unsure whether your team can handle things while you’re away.
If you’ve ever felt that little tinge of guilt when you even so much as think about taking annual leave, then it’s about time you do a full 180° spin.
Annual leave is not only one of the best ways to take some time to relax your mind and body, but there are so many benefits for your business, too.
As allied health business owners, we need to manage the fullness of our own cup in order to serve others.
At the end of the day, we must acknowledge that taking care of ourselves is just as important as taking care of our clients or our team.
We need to recognise when it’s time to slow down, take a break, and debrief on our personal and business lives.
During these trying COVID-19 times, many allied health businesses have been working at a pace of a sprint. Even when COVID-19 will be long gone, there will always be times during your business venture where you’re working at an overly fast pace.
I am deeply passionate about self-care, and it’s for this reason that this episode of the PPMP podcast is all about learning how to take a break.
If you’ve been tiptoeing between options – struggling to make a decision on when and where to take your leave – then this blog and episode are your lights at the end of the tunnel.
Leading Up To Taking Annual Leave
First off, let’s talk about the length of your leave, as well as the things you can do business-wise.
Perhaps you’ve already booked in a few long weekends, or a day here and there out of the office. Well, now’s the time to book a proper week or two off.
I’m not talking just a couple of days that will wiz past you as fast as they began. Instead, a proper long vacation that gives you ample time to rest and recuperate is more like it.
Just like the runway that an aeroplane rides before taking off, think of your pre-leave plan like a flight path.
Things like flow charts and checklists are all fantastic ideas for helping with your decision-making. Improving systems will help give you the ability to step out of the business.
Your strategic flight path or plan should also involve a discussion about handing over the reins to the rest of your team.
It’s all about building a sense of capability within your team. You should feel like you can trust them, and they should be able to feel that trust coming from you. This can help build their confidence and make things run smoother when you’re not there.
In my podcast, I speak more about the usual kind of work that should be done 2-4 weeks before a business owner plans to leave.
Ever Thought of a Stay-Cation?
A stay-cation…what does that even mean?
Well, it’s pretty much all in the name. It’s a play on the word vacation, but rather you’re staying home than jetting or driving off to someplace far away.
Especially during COVID-19, a stay-cation is a great way to reap the benefits of time away from the business, but while enjoying the comforts of your own home.
Plan your own stay-cation just as you would a more typical holiday. Perhaps you can use this stay-cation to spend more time with your kids, significant other, or relax by yourself in complete and utter peace.
No matter what your kind of annual leave may be, make the best of it. If your only option is a stay-cation, remember that your beautiful holiday may happen the next year, or the year after that.
Bonus tip: you could even use this stay-cation time to book your ultimate dream holiday for your next leave!
Coming Back to Work After Leave
We all know the age-old saying: all good things must come to an end.
Although, maybe it’s time to switch up your mindset when it comes to thinking about coming back to work after a restful holiday.
Ease into the phase of returning to your business. Let’s head back to the aeroplane metaphors for a moment.
I’m no expert, but I’m sure that pilots must plan their entry to their destination before taking off.
Like them, think about preparing your re-entry to work prior to your departure. This way, coming back won’t feel so overwhelming, and can eliminate some feelings of shock or surprise.
Organise a debrief with your team. Listen to all the positive, negative and interesting moments they’ve had while you were away. From there, you can begin developing improvements and solutions together.
Overall Awesome Benefits
So, now that you have a general plan to follow before, during, and after your leave, let’s explore some awesome benefits for you as an individual and your business as a whole.
These can apply to your own leave, as well as your team members who take holidays.
According to Heads Up, on a personal level it can help to:
- Decrease stress levels
- Reduce risks of anxiety and depression
- Enhance overall moods which can foster healthy social relationships
- Improve immunity
On a business level it can help to:
- Strengthen team morale across your staff
- Boost efficiency and productivity
- Increase motivation for a better work flow
- Reduce absences that aren’t planned
One of my best pieces of advice as a fellow business owner is to remember that:
Business is a marathon, not a sprint.
There is no need to run things at a constant rapid pace. As a result, you could run the risk of overworking yourself, burning out, and thus going backwards with progress.
You deserve a break! Working hard gets tiring, thus it’s important to know when it’s time to slow down and pause.
For all my in-depth tips and guidance on taking annual leave to benefit you professionally and personally, tune into Episode 151 of the PPMP podcast now.