Nearly half of small business owners in 2014 reported missing their summer vacation due to a fear of unplugging – i.e. to leave their business unattended – according to a survey by office supply chain store Staples.
Needless to say this is bad. For all the material advantages that good business produces, at the end of the day it’s the sum of all things that makes or breaks a person. We are living, breathing creatures that need to unwind in order to function properly. Forget to do it and you end up with an always-on society that never shuts up and forces every individual to do the same or fall behind.
We are constantly thinking about work
Let’s face it. Most of us do nothing but go to work, shop, feed the kids, sleep, press snooze, shower, then finally drag ourselves back to the office again. Some cope better than others, some even enjoy this lifestyle, but business leaders – who can afford not to follow this routine – still do it. Staples discovered last year that when they finally got away for a break, 44% of small business owners found it hard to relax on their vacation because they constantly thought about how their business was doing.
53% reported being concerned about monitoring day-to-day operations when they were not physically at their business, and around 48% said they were not able to turn off lights or adjust thermostats while on vacation, resulting in unnecessary costs. Staples mentioned this because the company just so happened to have a solution on offer, but that’s beside the point.
Unplugging is a birth right, not a luxury
The bigger issue is that people simply can’t seem to unplug these days. And while a select few can go at it for years on end, most of us can’t. The always-on nature of our technologically-woven society means that logging off can spell lost opportunities, higher maintenance costs, alarm bells going unheard, etc. This is %100 true for any business that depends on its manager. But technology can also help fix this. All you have to do is automate and delegate.
At the heart of the problem lies mentality. Unplugging is not hard. It’s easy: plan ahead; get someone you trust to watch your house / kids; switch off; pack your bags; board the plane and drench yourself in nothing but peace and relaxation for a full week. Keep the phone close by in case of emergencies, but otherwise don’t check what the world is doing every minute. And that includes your business. Sure, you’ll miss a few events, but your you-time matters just as much.