As a freelancer, even if you have own clients or work with companies to get clients, you're basically your own boss. So, when you are going on vacation there's no one there to replace you and no HR team to back you up. When you're working for someone else, you get a paycheck when you're going on vacation. You don't even have to do anything special, you're still getting paid for it.
As a freelancer, depending on your paycheck, taking a vacation means first a gap in your budget and an inability to satisfy your clients.
This doesn't mean that you shouldn't take a vacation. YOU SHOULD! We encourage you to have at least a minimum of two weeks per year. They make you feel refreshed and ready to tackle new projects. Especially when you own your own company and tend to work around the clock, vacations are important to prevent burn-out.
There are indeed a few steps to take in consideration in going on a vacation. We're pretty sure you're gonna still check emails, respond to any burning matters or even have a few meetings. But all of these should take no more than one hour out of your holiday time.
One of the main reasons you might not want to take time away is likely because of your clients. Building your business around being responsive and reliable is what software development is all about.
It's important to keep your clients informed, and that involves some advanced planning on your part. Decide in advance on when you want to take your vacation so you have enough time to inform everybody involved in your projects. Send emails informing:
- in what period you will be out of office
- how can your clients still contact you for any urgent matters
- in what hours you will be available online (if necessary)
- what you need to keep on hold
- any other matters that your clients need to know about
Be sure also to leave your last day to set up your "Out of Office" email and any last day matters, plus any pre-scheduling that you need to do. It would be also great to set a "go to" person that can back you up on any urgent matters. As well as doing some advance work just to be sure you won't be stressed during vacation time.
Enjoy some vacation timeWe know it's important for you to keep touch with your clients and/or coworkers. But you also need to get wild and enjoy your vacation as well. So, be considerate of your time, and others, if you are going accompanied.
Try to take no more than one-two hours in doing office work and pick a time block during which you will consistently be available while you’re on vacation. Don’t bother trying to deep dive into complex projects.
Keep it simple:
- commit yourself to respond to emails,
- getting back to important phone messages,
- and being available for quick clarifications or questions.
Come back fresh and smiling
Getting back to work can be a real hassle and can evaporate the good thoughts of vacation, but only if you don't plan the return. Keep your first day back cleaner, to make sure you have enough time to process all emails and any other important matters.
Try not to overwhelm yourself with meetings right from the beginning of the day. Schedule them maybe the day after, just to be sure you can be prepared for any meeting.
Try to spend your day mostly informing people of your return and assess your current progress in projects.
So there you go. That is how we deal with going away. We hope you found it useful and there are one or two tips in there that will help you have a more pleasant vacation next summer.