"Small business ownership" and "vacation" are phrases that don't gel too well. Wondering why?

Running a small business is a time consuming and committed effort. The fact that people who help you run the enterprise successfully are small in number with the same amount of responsibilities as a large corporation may have; makes the proposition all the more difficult to handle.

According to a popular survey by Career Builders some time back, more than one-third of the employees generally opt out of taking a break. But out of those who did, 85% reported as having the same amount of stress levels as they had before they left.

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The key here is "Stress". Crunched for time and resources, the SMB culture is as much prone to virulent stress levels as for any big corporation. It is common knowledge that stress is the major factor that inhibits productivity by tampering with people's decision making process and weakens memory as well.

As a SMB owner, is it worth the risk to have more than a third of the employees face chronic burn outs? How can productivity be maintained at the same level when employees take a break?

These are pressing questions that every SMB owner has to deal with. Here are some tips for a stress-free vacation time that will not leave your business operations in a whirlwind.

1. Company Protocol

In an SMB, personal interaction is a commonplace thing. Everyone knows everyone and relationships are a little more informal. But when it comes to taking a vacation, protocols have to be clearly spelled out. Talks of professionalism aside, the important thing is that the establishment should be sensitive to employee's problems as well. "Stress" does not understand the workings of commerce literally. While we are not proselytizing a lackadaisical employee attitude, cause for a burnout should be analyzed well.

2. Communication

Vacation for most of us means a planned holiday or time-off. But there can be instances when things crop up suddenly and employees need to go off. In such scenarios, while employee's wish is to be honoured, business operations should not come to a halt. Communication is important in the sense that anyone who's on vacation should be easily able to unplug without the check-in hassles. Moreover clearly laying out a protocol as to what a "emergency" constitutes is very important.

3. Designation of Responsibilities

Organization is key to any SMB's success. The leads should maintain lists of who handles what responsibility in the enterprise. This would surely help out in designating the tasks of the employee-on-leave to the next best person available.

4. Multi-tasking

The SMB teams should be ingrained in the task of multitasking. An inter-disciplinary office culture, where employees are aware of what each other does helps maintain the equilibrium in case of someone's absence. We do not endorse a strict cross-training program, but what's the harm in knowing a little more!

5. Maintain a Calendar

A calendar is not only a tool to schedule events and work details alone. SMB's can also use the common calendar to earmark vacation dates if they have not per-planned it already. This is a subtle way of communication in the office.

6. Scheduling

Before setting off for a vacation, it is best to schedule one's work well ahead of time. This ensures that productivity levels does not fall and remains at a constant level. The added advantage of scheduling is that other employees can compensate for the absentee employee's work that needs to be covered.

7. Informing Clients

Your vacation should not leave your client relationship on tenterhooks. Ensure that at least a week before setting off, you inform your clients and close partners about your unavailability or the alternative contact that they can get in touch with. It is best to leave emergency contact info too, just in case the need arises.

8. Knowledge Sharing

Competition is best to be left outside office. The owners need to build a culture of trust among employees as working for the common good of the business enterprise. Sharing user-names, passwords and social media id's between team members will assure ready data access in case the main person is missing from action.

Do check out this interesting infographic by Career Builders as well.

Taking a vacation once in a while is what everyone should do, whether you need it or not hardly matters. The human body, unlike our laptops and PC's are not machines that can run on endlessly. However, both the employer and employees should not look to overdo this privilege. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is what ensures a good productivity at the end of the day for any business.

We hope that the tips are useful and worth implementing. Do leave us a comment in the section below if you agree with us.

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