As a business owner, you feel like you are tethered to your company 24/7/365. In reality, there will be times when you need to: go out of town to a work-related convention, meet with new clients in another state, head across the country to care for an ill, elderly parent or take a much-needed vacation in a tropical locale.
While you would prefer to limit your contact with your team back in the home office — especially in the case of the third and fourth scenarios above — you are still the boss and you will need to be available to answer questions and put out proverbial fires. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to stay in touch with your trusted employees from afar.
Invest in a Great Smartphone with an Amazing Network
Yes, smartphones are convenient ways to reach your employees and vice versa. But if you are in a location with crummy reception, you might as well be talking into a banana. If you have not done so already, head to a reputable retailer like T-Mobile and sign up for their T-Mobile One plan that features incredible coverage. Upgrade to a new phone like the Samsung Galaxy S7 to make the most of the network’s offerings. The phone features a large 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED ultra-clear screen which is ideal for texting even when you are outside, and it is water- and dust-resistant, so if it tumbles into your hotel’s pool you can still use it to stay in touch. T-Mobile’s ONE plan also gives you unlimited 4G LTE throughout Mexico and Canada at no extra charge so you can easily catch up with clients.
Set a Schedule for When You Check In
If you are going to be in a super remote area or very busy tending to family or clients, you may need to be realistic about how “reachable” you can be — and that’s okay. Figure out any time zone issues and let your team know that you will call them every day at 10 a.m. their time, or that you will be available for calls and texts every day between 4 and 5 p.m. their time — whatever you feel will be enough access without going overboard.
Learn How to Make Your Phone a Wi-Fi Hotspot
To ensure that you can reach your team and vice versa while you are away, familiarize yourself on how to turn your Android smartphone into a mobile hotspot. Lifewire offers easy to follow instructions on how to turn on the Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot feature. Basically, go to Settings and tap on Wireless & Networks and then click the check mark beside “Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot.” Your phone will start acting like a wireless access point and you should also see a message in the notification bar letting you know you did it correctly.
A Few More Words of Advice …
Designate a trustworthy and calm employee to be a troubleshooter while you are away. This should cut back on the amount of calls and texts that you receive. While you will still be available and willing to help when needed, this should help limit the calls asking where the spare copy paper is located and how to order more inventory. Give yourself permission to respond to the critical messages and issues, and note the ones that can wait until your return.