Originally appeared on Xerox Small Business Solutions.
By Rieva Lesonsky
Juggling your own and your employees’ summer vacations with the need to still get work done can be tricky. Fortunately, planning ahead and using the right tools can help you and your team members take time off to recharge, while still keeping your business’s workflow moving along. Here are the technology and planning tips you need for a summer vacation that’s truly relaxing:
- Plan ahead. Have employees request vacation time early so you can stagger everyone’s time off. If there are typical slow periods during the summer for your business, choosing those times for vacation will minimize disruption. Let key customers know when you’ll be out of the office, who will be handling things in your absence, and how to get hold of you if it’s truly urgent.
- Plan backup. No one wants to spend their entire vacation checking email or calling in to the office. Help ensure a really relaxing vacation by choosing a point person to provide backup during your absence. Whether it’s your assistant or second-in-command, you can have them check your email or voicemail, relay only the most important messages, reply to others and deal with questions that normally come to you.
- Power up. Of course, you can’t expect to take a lengthy vacation without doing a little work—nor would most entrepreneurs feel comfortable completely ignoring their businesses. Pack the tech tools you’ll need to stay in touch, but try to travel as light as possible, both physically and digitally. Can you get by with just a smartphone or tablet and avoid lugging a laptop through TSA checkpoints? Delete unnecessary files and apps from your devices to prevent security breaches.
- Capitalize on the cloud. If your business isn’t yet using cloud storage and collaboration tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive and Office 365, now is the great time to start. When your business data and documents are in the cloud, you can access them from anywhere—whether it’s Walt Disney World or a villa in the Italian countryside. Storing information on the cloud is also more secure than keeping it on your phone, tablet or laptop, which can be lost, stolen or hacked during your trip.
- Play it safe. Create strong passwords to access your cloud-based business data. You may be tempted to store passwords in a Word document or a note on your smartphone, but don’t. Protect your passwords while making them portable by using an app like mSecure or LastPass. That way, all you have to remember is one master password.
- Be ready for anything. Handling a last-minute project during your vacation is easy if you have the right tools from Xerox. Use Xerox® Print Management and Mobility Service to print from anywhere, so you can print hard copies of documents for easy reading and markup. If your office printers or MFPs are enabled with Xerox®ConnectKey® Technology, your employees can access a shared folder on your network or a cloud repository such as Dropbox and locate and print the documents you edited right from the device. And since automatic file encryption is built right into Xerox multifunction printers with ConnectKey® Technology, your data is protected during transmission no matter where you’re sending it from.
- Ditch the paper. Is your trip a mix of vacation and business? Keep track of business expenses without piles of pesky paper receipts by using the Xerox® Mobile Link app to scan and store them using your smartphone or tablet. Did you meet a promising supplier while sipping margaritas in Cancun? Scan her business card with the Mobile Link app so you can reconnect when you’re back at work.
- Try to unplug. It’s hard for many of us entrepreneurs to disconnect from our businesses, but if you’re constantly checking your email on vacation, you won’t get the full benefit of taking time off. If you must check email, limit it to a few times a day—say, in the morning before you leave your hotel, and in the evening before dinner. To avoid getting sucked into the black hole of email, try using your smartphone primarily as a “read-only” device. Check it to see if there’s anything urgent that needs your attention; wait to reply to all other emails until you’re back in the office.
With the right technology and some smart advance planning, you’ll enjoy a vacation that re-energizes you to handle all the demands of your business. Bon voyage!