With temperatures rising and much of the country open for business again, many Americans are itching to get out and explore the outside world once again. But planning a vacation is a bit more complicated when you’re a business owner. So is it possible to leave town, get the rest and relaxation you deserve and keep your business running smoothly while you’re gone? Here are five steps you can take while planning a vacation to ensure you won’t be worrying about the state of your small business while you’re gone.

1. Consider the benefits of taking that vacation:

On top of giving us a chance to relax and recharge, studies show that taking regular vacations can make us better business owners in some unexpected ways, including less stress, increased productivity, and creativity. It can also improve the atmosphere at work, considering that most of us prefer working with a well-rested, happy boss. Keeping these benefits in mind can help reframe your thinking, so you view vacation as an investment in yourself rather than an unnecessary luxury

2. Choose the best time to go:

Now that you’ve decided that you need a vacation, the next important thing you must decide on is when you’re going to go. If you run a seasonal business, the obvious answer is to vacation during your off-season or at a time when business is traditionally lighter. But if your workload is relatively consistent throughout the year, you’ll want to consider factors such as project deadlines or a key employee’s schedule (i.e., if someone is expecting to go on medical or family leave) when choosing to take your vacation. You’ll have an easier time relaxing if you can vacation when you have confidence you won’t be missing anything out of the ordinary.

3. Prepare your employees:

Another unexpected benefit from your vacation may be discovering and developing new skills amongst your staff. Cross-training employees to fill in and help out with different functions while you are gone may give you an opportunity to see them shine in new situations and find new ways for them to grow within your company. Developing these skills in your employees will also make things less stressful if you are ever out of the office for unexpected reasons.

4. Prepare your clients:

If worrying about not being there for your customers is what’s keeping you from planning a vacation, you can alleviate these concerns through clear communication. Your important clients and customers will appreciate knowing in advance when you’ll be away and who they can reach out to for help in your absence.

5. Give your employees a break, too:

Remember how taking a vacation can reduce your stress and increase your creativity and productivity? Well, the same is true for your employees. Offering paid vacation is also a great way to increase employee retention and loyalty and increase your pool of candidates for open positions. With proper financial planning, you may even want to consider shutting down for a company-wide vacation to give everyone a chance to relax and recharge. When this happens, everyone is well-rested and ready to help your business thrive when you return.

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