Taking a sabbatical while you’re in the middle of starting a new business, when you’re likely to be working long hours, might sound absurd. This is due to the fact that you seem to be taking a break from something that would otherwise need your whole focus. However, you may come to see that it was the finest decision you could have made.
It’s difficult to abandon what you love, even when we know indulgence can lead to exhaustion. Europeans are always shocked at how few people in America take a vacation; in England, employees would baulk if they didn’t receive five weeks of paid holiday, even in their first year of a new role.
Freelancers are even less likely to take vacation days without pay.
When you don’t take time off, you’ll likely be miserable at work and perhaps unfriendly to others. You’ll be less productive and creative.
Sabbaticals enable entrepreneurs and founders to work on that book they’ve always wanted to write while taking a break from work to concentrate on something else. They may even volunteer with another group. They may experience a lot of “aha” moments when you’re not consistently under the cosh.
While you’re away, your business and colleagues may even profit from your absence, as it allows for autonomy and they have the chance to grow and develop.
TIPS FOR ENTREPRENEURS TAKING SABBATICALS
Inform your colleagues about your intentions long before your break so they can prepare for your absence. Include departure and return information to help outline your trip.
- Be transparent
Explain why you’re taking a sabbatical so they understand and aren’t anxious about what it implies for them and the company. They want to feel safe, not worried that you’re giving up.
- Make a backup plan
Regularly review the plans, roles and duties, and have a backup plan in case anything goes wrong while you are gone. Consider it a risk management strategy that monitors potential issues and fixes them without your involvement.
- Leave someone in charge
Put a responsible person in charge (because your business is essentially your life). You need someone who has some of the same abilities, expertise and experience as you. Often, this means designating that individual the temporary CEO so everyone knows who is in charge.
- Make a budget
Make important financial choices and document them. This may involve deciding who can spend money and how much they can spend it. Make an escape route. Don’t abandon the team, but provide the temporary CEO and essential workers with an emergency contact to reach you. You may also provide concrete instances of what constitutes an emergency scenario, guiding their judgments and actions.
Enjoy the moment and resist any feelings of shame or fear that may arise. You deserve a lot of praise for the work you’ve done, but it is important to remember that you are a human being. Don’t be afraid to give yourself permission to indulge for as long as you need: It provides you a chance to re-energise and places you in situations that give you a fresh perspective on the areas of your organisation where change is required.
If you have the appropriate people, resources, and plan in place, you can take your time and yet be just as successful – or even more successful.