“I’m writing this from the beach in Bali…” I’ll never forget clicking on an article link that opened with this line and how much it rubbed me the wrong way. Here I was, sitting at my desk slugging away, obviously looking for help with something, and the person who claimed they had “all of the answers” was thousands of miles away on a beach I will most likely never set foot on. This was not the greatest place to start if the goal was to convince me to keep reading.
But isn’t that every small business owners dream? To go on a true, and maybe extended vacation? Without having to answer the phone every day to put out a fire, or have their company in shambles when they return?
Backing up to the early days of my career in our family painting business… While on an early morning flight to San Diego for a work conference, one of our men fell off of a ladder. I landed from the six hour flight to a slew of voicemails from the office, all which basically boiled down to “we don’t know what to do.”
As the HR person for our company, I was the one to handle workplace injuries and no one else knew the procedure. So what was supposed to be a relaxing afternoon before the start of a four-day conference turned into a flurry of phone calls and information gathering and forwarding to make sure everything was sorted out by the end of the day. Thankfully the gentleman who fell did not have any major injuries, but the stress on everyone through the whole ordeal lead me to create and share a workplace injury procedure upon my return.
Now, if someone happens to get hurt on the job, all of our Foreman have a copy of the injury procedure in their Policies and Procedures Manual (which lives in their truck). And everyone in the office has a copy as well, along with the contact information for our Workman’s Comp Company and an Injury Reporting Worksheet that covers all of the information needed to report a claim.
Fast forward to last year, when my step-daughter graduated from college with honors and we planned a once in a lifetime trip to Greece – which would mean being out of the country for twelve days. Prior to this, I had never been away for more than a week, and usually scheduled my vacations from Wednesday to Tuesday to accommodate running our weekly payroll.
This time however, with over fifteen years in the business under my belt, I had created and shared all of the systems I had put in place with regards to my job responsibilities. And while I was still nervous about being away for the longest I’ve ever been, I felt confident in boarding the ten-hour flight and landing without any voicemails on my phone. Aside from running payroll in the mid-point of our trip (there was no one to delegate it to), we had a wonderful time with no business interruptions.
So what’s the key to making this a reality for yourself and your company?
- Hire the right people to complete your management team.
- Create systems that everyone can follow and make them easily accessible to all.
- Delegate appropriately and empower your team to make smart decisions when you’re away by including them in the process when you are in the office.