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Why small business owners should schedule regular time off from work

A new Australian Treasury report has revealed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of small business owners. While lockdowns and other restrictions may no longer be affecting business owners, many stressors are having a long-term impact.

COVID-19 left many business owners in a state of uncertainty, concerned about the future success of their business. This meant many were working harder than ever to stay afloat and spending more time thinking about their business outside of work hours. COVID-19 also created additional duties for small business owners like managing grants and JobKeeper payments. Many businesses are still recovering from these impacts, so it is no surprise that difficulty finding a balance between the demands of work, family and personal life was the top business stressor identified in the report.

Work-life balance has always been a challenge for business owners, and the pandemic may have made this feel more unachievable. One way business owners can restore some balance is by taking some time off work. While the Christmas ‘break’ may mean time off for some, it can be one of the busiest times of year for others, and it can be difficult seeing others getting paid time off to relax and unwind. You may also be left short-staffed or alone due to employees taking time off over the holidays.

As a small business owner it is important to plan for time off to ensure you are taking a break every so often, even if this not over the Christmas period. While this may seem difficult, taking time off is an important part of looking after your mental and physical wellbeing, and ensuring you do not become overly stressed or burnt out.

Some tips to help you plan for some time off include:

  • Plan breaks around quieter work periods to ensure someone will be able to manage without you, or that you won’t have a large amount of work to come back to.
  • Let your customers and clients know when you will be off in advance so appointments and deadlines can be scheduled around your time off.
  • If you have an employee or family member you are leaving the business with, train them in all the processes required to keep the business open, with plenty of time to practice these skills and ask any questions.
  • Do what works best for you when taking time off. If you are more likely to relax by checking your emails or receiving updates every few days, then allow for this on your time off, it may help you stop thinking about work when you are away.

You can find more information on work-life balance, planning for time off, and burnout on the Ahead for Business digital hub. We hope you can schedule some well-deserved time off in 2023.

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