While people are finally returning to the office after working largely from home since March 2020, the way we had to adapt our work processes to work from separate locations taught us how an office can run smoothly even when employees are not present, working flexible hours, or not working at all.
Now that the world is re-opening, we can apply these lessons to a scenario we’ve all been dreaming of: going on vacation! As a business owner/team leader, leaving the office and the plethora of responsibilities you oversee used to cause enough anxiety to question whether it was even worth taking that time off. Even when employees would take vacation, it could feel like a massive void that the rest of the team had to work overtime to fill. Not anymore.
The good news for interior designers is that Design Manager’s customized project management tools are perfect for interior designers, letting you enjoy your time away from the office and making it possible for you to remain on top of things when your employees do the same.
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Having the Necessary Infrastructure
In order to execute this dream come true, it’s essential to have the right infrastructure in place and tools to lean on. It’s crucial to have a master plan that identifies what needs to be done, from accounting, to operations, to project management, and how it will be executed on the necessary timeline. If you have a team, make sure their responsibilities and your expectations of them are clearly defined from the day you hire them. If you still have employees who need to be better-managed, it’s never too late to start — just do so before you go on vacation.
Accomplishing the above is no easy feat for a small business owner, especially if you are also the lead designer who is trying to reserve enough mental capacity for creativity. Investing in the best extended team of professionals, like accountants, financial planners, and lawyers, is one part of the puzzle. For the majority of your workload, you’ll need business software to keep track of the nitty gritty. This is where Design Manager comes in: it’s an all-in-one accounting and project management solution created specifically for interior designers and its Pro Cloud version allows users to access its vast functionality from anywhere with an internet connection. Many of the tips shared below involve leaning on a feature specific to Design Manager, which makes a huge impact on how efficient an interior design business can be.
A Checklist for How to Run an Interior Design Business While on Vacation
- If you are not using the cloud versions of your business software—and if you use Design Manager, you only need one—upgrade today so you and your employees can access information from remote locations. While the idea is to minimize your workload as much as possible while on vacation, you will need the ability to check-in and your key employees should have the ability to do so also. To that end, research the wi-fi capabilities of the places you and/or your employees will be traveling to ahead of time.
- Set up your team calendar in advance so that you narrow down when you will be working on your vacation and try to avoid scheduling meetings that require your attendance while you’re away. Do the same for employees when they take their vacation days.
- Use Design Manager’s “To Do List Task and Appointments Window” to enter Appointments, or Tasks, that are scheduled in advance so that the software can remind you when it is time to perform a particular task or to keep an appointment. You can also use it to enter tasks to be performed by others and to have those tasks automatically appear on the list of the assigned employee.
- Take advantage of Design Manager’s “Quick Add” and “Spec Search” features while out of the office, and encourage your traveling employees to do the same. “Quick Add” allows a user to enter a line item with very few details which can be added at a later time. This can be used when one employee is covering for another and can only absorb a portion of the extra incoming work, or for an employee on the go who wants to enter information as it’s received but leave the bulk of the work for when they return to the office. “Spec Search” can be used to recall a particular data point using a quick or advanced search, which again is helpful to employees helping to cover for others or to minimize the time spent on a work task while on vacation.
- Keep track of employee activity in Design Manager using the “User Activity Log”. If you use Design Manager for your interior design business, almost everything your employees will be responsible for will operate through the software. You can stay on top of every one of these “to-dos” using the User Activity Log to ensure your team is staying on top of their workloads without your physical supervision.
- Use the Design Manager App to help manage the work you end up doing on your vacation, particularly keeping track of time you spend on client matters for time billing. You can also use the app to snap products you see while shopping if you visit any shops while away.
- Leverage Design Manager’s Online Payments to send invoices and collect digital payments (both credit card and ACH) while out of the office. The simplicity of using Design Manager for this function will also give you comfort in assigning the task to another employee in your absence.
Taking time to yourself on occasion is a necessary part of staying creatively charged and on top of your game as an interior design business leader. Besides, we could all use a vacation after being cooped up for over a year! Organizing your business in advance and investing in cloud software with the right functionality, like Design Manager, will give you the ability to take that well needed break without having to stress about what you might be missing. If you haven't already signed up for Design Manager, try it for free today!