Does Achieving the American Dream Mean Foregoing the American Vacation?
National Survey Reveals Unused Vacation Days among Small Business Owners Are on the Rise
BENTONVILLE, ARK., July 2007 –For most small business owners, vacation time is becoming increasingly rare. According to a new survey* commissioned by Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., nearly 50 percent of small business owners take only major holidays off, or nothing at all. That’s less than half the average number of vacation days used by the rest of the world, including Canada, Britain and Japan, as reported by the World Tourism Organization. Additionally, among those small-business owners who said they would be taking vacation, the majority – 66 percent – will take only one week off all summer long.
So why are so few small business owners taking time off?
“Small business owners are the most overworked of all Americans, taking on all or most of the responsibility of running their businesses,” says Joe Robinson, a work life coach and one of the country’s foremost experts on work life balance. “So they worry that their businesses will suffer if they’re away from their work for any extended period of time. And those who do manage to get away find it nearly impossible to completely disengage from their work – incessantly checking in with their employees and their customers.”
Yet, ignoring time off from the office tends to cause more havoc for small business owners than they realize. Overworking can lead to serious health hazards, including higher stress, burnout, sleeplessness and more. It can impede relationships at home, causing greater feelings of guilt and greater stress. It also can inhibit productivity at work and create high turn over.
“Vacations are as important as watching your cholesterol or your business’ bottom line, yet most people put it off for years or indefinitely.” says Robinson. “Overlooking the value of time off creates an unhealthy and unproductive business environment, negatively impacting your employees and the fate of their vacations.”
Perhaps another reason small business owners avoid vacations is because they find it difficult to take on the additional task of planning the trip and affording the increasing travel costs.
In fact, nearly 90 percent of small business owners taking a vacation admit that they plan for it as they go, instead of planning ahead. For those respondents who do vacation, most – 93 percent – book their travel plans on their own, which can be daunting and time consuming.
“Agonizing about where to go, how to get there, and how much it will costs can be all consuming, causing small business owners to put off that well –deserved trip,” suggests Robinson. “Finding simple solutions that make travel planning easier and more affordable may help people get away stress free.”
To make a summer vacation part of your small business plans this year, take note of these helpful time management and travel planning tips from Robinson and Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club offers a diverse portfolio of product offerings and services for business owners, including travel, financial and health care, to help keep businesses running smoothly and make life easier for the owners and their employees.
Get Organized at Work Before You Leave
• Schedule vacation time during slow business months.
• Give employees and clients or customers a “heads up” well in advance of your departure.
• Ensure that your business is properly organized and well stocked before you leave. Sam’s Club offers a wide range of small business supplies, from paper products and staplers to computers and software.
Make Smart Travel Plans Easy and Stress Free
• Determine your vacation parameters, including budget, timeframe, and level of accommodations and food.
• Consider booking a vacation during winter months to benefit from off-season rates.
• Find the best values. In an exclusive partnership with Expedia, Sam’s Club Travel has expanded its services and offering, and there is no service fee to its Members. Sam’s Club Travel, with Expedia, offers users a chance to book a flight and hotel together to save time and money – an average of $220 per trip.
• Get destination ideas from everywhere, including friends, co-workers, guide books and at samsclub.com, or check out the new Fall Travel Guide.
• And best of all – relax and have fun … you deserve it!
Sam’s Club Member Services are available to both Business and Advantage Members. Currently Sam’s Club Plus Members can receive a $100 travel appreciation certificate for certain packages and select cruises. For more information call 1-800-514-2259.
*Survey Source: BIGresearch for Sam’s Club.
About Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club is a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The first Sam’s Club opened its doors in Midwest City, Oklahoma in 1983 and today serves more than 47 million U.S. Members. Sam’s Club offers exceptional values on merchandise and services for business owners and consumers. Online merchandise and club information is available at samsclub.com.