Any family business owner will tell you they don’t have time to take a holiday, but in doing so they may be doing themselves and the business a disservice.

We all know that farmers easily work up to 12 – 16 hours a day, six days a week – sometimes more!

With a workload as heavy as this, enjoyable as it may be for most, it is important  to build in mechanisms for the farm owner/manager to take time off from the business.

For many farmers, we suggest thinking it about in this fashion: what would happen to your business if you or someone in your family was seriously ill and you couldn’t work – how would your business continue to operate?

Building into the business a chain of command and operating procedures that everyone knows and a good line of communication between yourself and staff all contribute to the business continuing in this scenario.  It builds trust amongst your employees, leadership and responsibility.

A break from the business doesn’t mean illness; holidays should be an important part of your working life.

There are a number of good reasons why farmers should give themselves a break:

  • Holidays are essential for mental health and family relationships. They provide opportunities to have discussions that do not include the business which is refreshing in itself – happy family, happy life
  • Being able to take holidays is a measure of business success – your management, training of other staff members to assume responsibilities and the ability to afford a holiday.
  • Having a holiday is an investment in your business as you come back with fresh eyes. You see things more clearly that you may have grown used to that really need to be addressed.
  • Research has shown that taking a break can actually improve your profitability by as much as 20%
  • You can use the time to learn new skills, attend meetings and trade shows to bring back fresh ideas, methodologies, technology and skills.
  • Self employed people work long hours – fatigue, stress and exhaustion can hinder productivity.
  • There is never a good time to take a holiday. By communicating with staff, holidays can be planned in advance to ensure everyone gets a break. Set an example to your staff to show that it is okay to take a break.