Working Holidays: 3 reasons why it’s ok
So, how was your summer? Did you take a holiday? Did you work still? Did you network still?
August for many involves holiday time, myself included. Yet self-employment, despite all its flexibility, still meant that it was not a month without some work or networking. The working world was still ticking after all!
We all need a break from work of course and I’m a huge believer in striving for work-life balance. I have a young family and whilst I want them to view their mother as a role-model for honest, hard work as I build my business, I also want their young memories to be filled with quality family time involving mealtimes, weekend activities and school holiday trips.
As a networker, lead generator and organiser of business development events, my profession is connecting people to assist business growth. Since I enjoy the face-to-face variety of networking the most, I don’t feel the same compulsion to break completely from work just because I’m in a different location or technically on holiday. So, whilst I took a long holiday, I still opted to let work accompany me (just a little) and here’s the three main reasons why.
1. An open-for-business mindset
Setting the out-of-office may be something that’s craved by some – and for shorter breaks quite acceptable – but if you take a longer break and if you run your own business, it could send the wrong signal and present a barrier both to inbound enquiries and to your own mentality to be pro-active whilst away. If I’m open for business, then I’m open to contact and to thinking about work whilst away, albeit in a more remote and relaxed fashion.
2. Staying tuned in to opportunity
I truly believe that if you love what you do for a living then it should permeate conversations anytime and anywhere. There’s a time and place for work chat of course but leaving your work behind isn’t always a holiday pre-requisite. My desire to meet new people who may enrich both my business and personal life and who may inspire new business ideas and planning isn’t filed away on my desk when I go away; it is always firmly packed in my suitcase. Despite taking time out to give my young family some much-needed attention, I’m still switched on to work, to opportunity and to networking.
3. Reinvigorating your business
Some people will reinvigorate themselves and their businesses by taking a complete break. For others, remaining partially switched-on and getting the breathing space to plan and get ahead may be the tonic that’s needed. I’ve returned from my summer break with new ideas and inspiration, new networking events planned, blogs and resources drafted, emails and enquiries responded to, new contacts both back at home and from holiday encounters acquired, and follow-up actions logged. A break can be relaxing but space to make a head-start can also re-invigorate your business and provide instant momentum once you arrive home. At the very least, staying partially tuned-in will sort out those first day blues if the email is up-to-date and the ‘to do’ list prepared.
Overall, whilst we all know that taking a break from work is crucial to physically and mentally recharge, if meeting people and contacts fuels you personally and in business and staying partially connected to work whilst away fits your working style, then perhaps allowing a little work and networking – within reason – to accompany you on holiday may be the right call. There may be value and opportunity sitting hiding in your holiday encounters and there’s certainly a stress-busting angle as well in seizing some catch-up or advance planning time.
By Kirsty James, Owner, Colony Networking
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Kirsty James works one-to-one with small businesses on networking strategy, business development planning and signposting to suitable business support groups and local events. She also organises Colony’s mixed-gender and women’s networking events in the Warrington area and assists third parties to organise their own lead generation events.