Your business can benefit from having you, the owner, take a vacation for three major reasons:
- A More Profitable Future
Workplace benefits described by Tanya Moyn in Forbes include higher productivity, stronger workplace morale, greater employee retention, and other significant economic benefits.
While these studies relate to employees, no one works harder than owners — just ask one. Maybe that explains why so few take a vacation. In 2015, a study of owners by Office Depot found that only 61% of respondents planned to take a vacation that summer. The actual statistics then and now are probably lower. When it comes to taking time off, many owners live, think, and breathe business all the time. Or, at least their family can feel they do.
No Vacation is Not Good for the Economy or Your Business
According to the State of the American Vacation, employees leave on the table:
- Days of Unused Leave: 658
- Average Number of vacation days used 16.2; down from 20.3 days from 1976-2000
- Forfeit $61.4 Billion in benefits
The Project Time Off study states “if Americans had used the vacation time they earned in 2015, it would have meant $223 billion in spending for the U.S. economy. Servicing the needs of those unused vacation days would have created 1.6 million jobs, resulting in $65 billion in additional income. If Americans were to just use one more day, it would be $34 billion in total spending for the U.S. economy.”
Your business loses out, too. Not only is a vacation rejuvenating but it can also be inspiring. It’s not unusual for an owner who has taken time off to come back and revise the business slightly or significantly. Vacations inspire. Vacations provide primary research into how other owners face the same challenges even if they are in different industries with different customers. All owners worldwide deal with pricing, customers, employees, competition, regulation, taxes, finance, and operation and delivery of goods and services.
Vacations do one more important thing for your business. They help provide a more profitable future or exit strategy. The people you meet on a vacation and the experiences you have create opportunities for personal and business growth and development. It really can expand your mind by taking you out of the “weeds” of your business into the fresh air on a higher level because you are not “responsible”. It’s like being a kid again. The best part is that it doesn’t matter if your time away is short or long if you go into it alert for possibilities.
It is possible to take time off to relax and still be “working on the business”. Owners can return knowing that they accomplished something for the short and long term benefit of their business investment. This makes it easier to deal with the two most commonly stated owner fears of taking a vacation: mountains of work waiting for them when they return and that no one else can do their job while they are gone.
Employees Benefit When Owners Take a Vacation
Employees benefit also from the boss being gone. This may sound dangerous to an owner but it can be good for morale and give them a chance to show what they can do. This is especially true for employees who work for micro managers or owners who are intense and driven.
Everyone also gets a chance to catch up when the owner is absent. They have to stretch their capabilities and become more self-sufficient. Although it can be scary, they can also look forward to new ideas the owner brings back to make business better for all.
Vacations Should Not Be Boring
There’s one more unstated fear of vacation time — being bored. As a business owner, you have things to do, places to go and people to see. A vacation, even if well planned, is risky and can be expensive. What if you don’t like it or the food is bad or someone gets sick? What if there’s nothing to do?
If you go on vacation, actively talking to other owners, listening to their customers, watching and analyzing how business is done, you will not be bored. Be adventurous, observant, and alert to opportunities. You might find a future business alliance, mentor, or even a good friend.
Last Vacation Advice
Are you inspired to take that well-earned vacation? You should be! I am. See you on the road to somewhere.
One last piece of advice: don’t go to work the day after you return from your trip. Take the day off. Use it to decompress and to think about what you did this summer.
Please remember to buy local, no matter where you go. It matters.