Why should people take holidays

As I sit here on holiday taking a well-earned rest in August – the month when most people in our industry feel they are captain of the good ship Mary Celeste – it is good to reflect on why people should take holidays and how and why they are good for your business as a whole.
Re-charge and re-tune
The first and most notable reason is that they do recharge those batteries. People who take just a couple of days here and there never really refresh themselves. Our industry is one that is full of small businesses run by owner-operators who carry an inordinate amount of stress around with them, especially in the doom and gloom times that seem to be upon us at the moment.
So make sure that you do holiday and that, at least once a year, it is for at least two weeks. You will, I promise, come back feeling better and probably more in tune both with work and with your family than you were before going a way.
Can they cope without me?
The second reason is that you will see if the business can cope without you (I suppose I am talking to those owner-operators again). Take time out. You don’t have to go completely incommunicado but be absent enough to see if the business can cope with you not at its helm for two weeks.
What happens when you are away shows how good your systems are and whether delegation at work actually works.
I remember, when I went away in a previous business life, my number two forgot to pay the staff. It was only when the staff asked where their money was that the penny dropped. Valuable lessons – to run through all routine tasks when delegating, and to think about what might have been forgotten when left to takeover – were learned by all.
The truth revealed
A third and equally important reason to make staff take holidays of at least two weeks at least once a year, is that you can find out their strengths and weaknesses while they are away.
If everything runs better, and people seem happier and so on, when a member of staff is away then something, or someone, is telling you something. If you can’t find documents that are needed, or payments that should have been made, then you know that you have a problem. If customers call and mention the poor service they received … any or all of these tell you how bad or, in some cases, good that member of staff is. Two weeks at one time is a good discipline and one that is enforced rigorously in the banking world as part of their anti-fraud policies.
I have always found that telling staff a couple of months before the end of the year if they have any holiday left works as a great fillip to them – and enhances their view of the business.
It pays to lunch, too
Lastly, and it’s almost the same argument, lunch hours are best enforced rather than frowned upon. You can build a good team spirit if your employees know that you are a caring employer who thinks about their welfare rather than one who tries to draw out every last minute of their time on a virtual clock-in clock-out basis.
So, in summary (as I head off to the pool to catch the rays) I might phone in a couple of times a week, I might check my mails (I might even write an article or two) but I will chill – and go back to work with renewed vigor, full of ideas and in competitive spirit.
So, I’m off to get that beer and carry on holidaying ...
If you would like to comment on this article, or any in the series, write to peter.savage@azule.co.uk or contribute to the blog at www.azule.co.uk/articles.asp where you can also read previous articles on running a broadcast business.

Tags: business | iss023 | finance | azule | holiday | N/A
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