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How to stay connected during the holidays

Keep your business running smoothly while you’re away

Working 24/7 is often the norm when you’re a small-business owner, and stepping away from your company for some “me time” may seem unthinkable – especially during the holidays, which can be the busiest time of year, depending on your industry. Who’s going to run things? How will you be sure everything that needs to get done is being done?

Being away from your business doesn’t mean you have to disconnect completely. If you really want to stay in touch with your team while ensuring you’re able to truly savour some much-needed R&R, follow these four tips.

1. Plan ahead.

As with any vacation, advance planning is key. As early as possible, get yourself and your team organized before you go: automate any tasks you can; schedule tweets or social-media posts (using an app such as Hootsuite or Buffer) to keep your customers engaged on your business’s feeds; and delegate tasks to staff, leaving detailed instructions where necessary to reduce the likelihood you’ll be contacted with questions.

2. Pack wisely.

Instead of lugging your laptop with you on vacation, make your tablet, phablet or smartphone your do-it-all device. There are myriad apps for collaboration (such as Quip or Igloo), communication (try Slack or Ryver) and customer service (Happy Fox or Streak, for starters) that you can download, which allow you to get work done easily and efficiently on a mobile device. Worried about keeping an eye on your business while away? Before you leave, look into business-monitoring systems that let you access your company’s security cameras right on your device.

3. Designate “work windows.”

When you’re away, set up designated periods of time to work. That way, you ensure you’re not expected (by your team or your clients) to be perpetually “on call.” During these specific windows of time, you can get updates from your team, give updates, address any concerns or questions from clients, put out proverbial fires and so on – in a finite period of time. These windows can be set aside once a day or once every few days, depending on the needs of your business and your team. Bonus tip: communicating over the phone or via video chat is often a much more efficient use of time than engaging in back-and-forth emails/texts.

4. Roam wisely.

Whether you’re calling a client, uploading files or video conferencing with your team, staying connected while on vacation means using your mobile device – and data, voice minutes and text messages. Having a long-distance plan is vital for those important phone calls, and having a flat-rate plan lets you use your device just like you do at home and gives you the peace of mind of knowing exactly what your bill will be when you get back, which is especially valuable if you’ll be roaming outside of Canada. For worry-free collaboration and communication, you may also want to look into into flexible data plans, which allow you to use as much (or as little) data as you need, thereby reducing the likelihood of overages.