Five reasons leaders like you need a summer vacation

Not taking a vacation is harmful to your health and your business

Reading Time: 4 minutes

David FullerI was about to take a six-month vacation from my business and my team leaders Rachael and Carmel were a little surprised – and perhaps a little nervous – when I told them they would be in charge.

The business had been open for five years, but the truth was I was making more money renovating and flipping houses than I was from the business.

My brother Rob was getting married in Ireland and I was to be the best man. After working hard to start the business, I thought it was time to take a break. I was exhausted from working in the business, and a six-month vacation was going to do me good.

Most business leaders will never take six months off from their business in their life. Many are lucky if they take a couple of weeks a year.

One business owner recently told me that when she took a rare holiday, she had to tell her staff that she was taking a business trip because she felt so guilty. Another took a Friday afternoon off to golf with her daughter and felt the same guilt.

If you feel guilty about taking time off, you’re not alone. Studies show that approximately 55 per cent of people feel guilty about taking their holidays.

If you own a business or manage an organization, you need to start taking holidays. Here are five good reasons:

Protect your health

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As owners and managers of organizations, we can push our bodies to physical and mental exhaustion. Taking a holiday and resting helps revive our adrenal glands. It also allows us to get a break from the ongoing exhaustion associated with running a business.

Without proper rest, our bodies get to the point where they can’t take anymore and shut down at inopportune times. Taking a vacation ensures that when we need to be mentally and physically at our prime, we’re ready.

Get away from the stress

The day-to-day activities of the business can cause stress. The thought of having to make ends meet and deal with customers, staff and suppliers can be stressful for owners.

This means we must turn off our phones and stop checking our email when we take a holiday. Taking a break from the day-to-day activities and stresses allows us to really rest.

Weekends often aren’t enough time for us to decompress and relax from the stresses of the business. Vacations of two or three weeks give us a chance to forget for a few moments about our daily business problems and spend happy times with our friends and family, away from the rigours of work.

Recharge and revise your vision

After taking six months off, I was ready to really get the business going. I had some ideas that could take us to the next level and the energy to implement those ideas.

But it doesn’t have to be six months. Sometimes it only takes a break of six days or six weeks for owners to become really focused and recharged.

I love driving long distances on holidays because I can mull things over as I drive and get clarity on what I need to do in the business.

Without taking the time to revise their vision, leaders seem to forget their purpose and end up charging blindly off in all directions. If you’ve lost your clarity and purpose, a vacation is a great way to find it again.

Empower your employees

Once Rachael and Carmel got over the shock of me leaving, they became empowered to run the business with the help of the other staff.

Going on vacation means that someone needs to be in charge. Employees who are empowered become invested in the organization. They get a sense of meaning, and understand that they’re essential to the existence of the business and the service of customers.

Without empowered, invested employees, our businesses are lacklustre, and, as owners, we end up doing all the work. If you would like to have a team that really supports you, take more vacations.

Find out what doesn’t work

One of the best reasons to go on vacation is to find out what doesn’t work in your business.

As owners, we need to have systems to ensure things run smoothly. A vacation is one great way to find out what systems need fixing.

If you’re getting calls while on vacation because you’re the only one who knows how to do something, you have a problem. If you have a week’s work on your desk for every week you took on your trip, you have a problem.

Your first job when you get back shouldn’t be to do the work but to implement systems so you won’t have the same problems next time.

Vacations are beneficial in so many ways. Not only can you have better health and better relationships, but you will also have a better, more valuable business by implementing systems that enable you to have a stress-free organization.

Not taking a vacation is harmful to your health and your business. Book yours now!

Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award-winning business coach and a partner with Pivotleader Inc. For interview requests, click here.


The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and do not inherently or expressly reflect the views of our publication.

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