When home is work and work is home, where one ends and the other begins becomes hard to define. Switching off from work is one of the biggest challenges for individuals working from home – an issue facing employers and the self-employed alike. While employers need to encourage and promote to their workers switching off and the importance of rest, self-employed people need to make sure they also schedule time off. There can be a mindset challenge to overcome if you are running your own business. You can fear missing out or losing traction and sales. There are steps you can take to prepare for time off, work with confidence and give yourself permission to down tools.
For business owners and freelancers, social media is often a large part of marketing their business. Fortunately, it can be one of the easiest things to prepare in advance thanks to a multitude of planning and scheduling tools.
• Plan your content: Think about how much content you want to still put out while away. What themes or topics will you cover? What messages do you want to convey? Which platforms are you using?
• Create your content: With a plan, you can start writing posts or captions, creating graphics, and filming video content. Have your images edited and copy ready to go so you can copy and paste when needed. Bear in mind any content you will want to post live while you’re away. Are there any videos you want to film in advance to use in your reels or Youtube material?
• Save your content: Have somewhere where you can save these assets ready for using later. A good idea is to create a separate folder on your laptop or phone for photos, videos and graphics that you want to use. It keeps them together and, if you’re really efficient, you can date them when saving so you know what to post when.
• Schedule your content: There are lots of scheduling tools on the market that allow you to relax knowing the content you have created is automatically being posted. Tools such as Later, Buffer, Planoly and Hootsuite are popular and you can use some for free with limitations.
Research the tool that is right for you depending on which platforms you want to post to.
Facebook for business also has a scheduling tool which you can use for free to post to your page. If you are a Canva Pro user, you can also schedule content that you design in the app to post out as well.
If you prefer to post your content live even when you are away (which can avoid any issues with possible glitches or content you might want to change), having all your content saved and dated in one place means you can quickly copy and paste when you want to post.
Emails are another piece of content that you can automate easily. Email marketing platforms allow you to schedule your emails so that you can have several written in advance to send out.
Make sure you set up different automations depending on what you need to happen while you’re off work. Regular newsletters can be scheduled in advance to send out. Automation sequences mean new subscribers or buyers always get a response. You can also set up more sophisticated sequences so that people who click on particular links or react to certain emails or posts automatically get an email or tagged as well.
This can be ideal if you want to set up a promotion or similar while you are away.
Plan your emails and depending on your audience, don’t be afraid of honesty. Let them know you’re on holiday and the email is scheduled. It may even inspire them to take time away too!
Regular email providers such as Google also allow you to schedule send emails for the days after you are away. Don’t forget the basics of setting your out of office so you have email replies automated to let people know you’re on leave.
One of the most important steps to prepare for time off work is letting people know how it will affect them.
Will orders be delayed? Are you still able to deliver the same service to your customers? Will any of your other team members need to step in and take on some of your duties?
Make sure you give yourself time to do a handover if required.
Have your out of office response detail who people can get in touch with in urgent situations. Also let people know when you will be next available to deal with their queries.
Most people are perfectly happy for you to take time off. Keeping people informed ensures nobody is left confused, disappointed, or let down.
Not everything in a business can be automated, nor will you want it to be. If there are tasks that need to carry on, outsourcing is a great way to ensure your business still operates at some level.
Whether you are looking for a VA to help out with admin while you are off, or somebody to manage customer queries, your website, or other tasks, there are many people you can employ to help you out for a temporary period.
Make sure you have time to speak with people and check suitability. You need to know you can trust them and feel confident that they can handle things in the interim. Set aside time for onboarding and then you can take time off, feeling reassured and able to switch off.
Work in advance
How much can you get done ahead of time?
To prepare for time off work, you might want to look ahead to your return.
What is on the agenda or what deadlines are looming for straight after you are back? Can you make good headway with these projects before you switch off.
If you know your future work commitments, check to see what jobs you are dreading or causing you to worry. It is not always possible or sensible to start projects too far in advance. Even a simple outline of what needs to be done can put your mind at ease. You know it is one less thing to start worrying about on your return.