My right-hand man was out last week, and that was perfectly fine. After all, it was his vacation, and we’d had plenty of time to prepare. I kept my appointments and meetings to a minimum while he was gone so that I could handle the extra work. What I didn’t plan on was getting hit with a bad case of the flu. I was completely down for the count on Monday. I felt better on Tuesday, but I was still far from operating at full speed.
Dealing with an unexpected illness is a lot tougher than covering for someone who’s on vacation, because you really can’t plan for it. Sure, you can prepare for the possibility, as suggested in a post earlier this week on this blog. For example, we store our data in the cloud so it can be accessed by various employees, and we have a clear chain of command. So, theoretically, it’s easy for someone to step into my shoes when I can’t get out of bed to put them on myself.
But that never takes the actual circumstances into account. Monday was a very busy day. We didn’t have any out-of-office replies set up, and we were unable to prepare our biggest clients for the delays caused by our lack of manpower. The result: We did a good job of handling clients’ urgent needs, but our response times definitely lagged. Was I happy with the way my employees handled the situation? Absolutely.
I’d love to think that a small business like mine could move forward effortlessly when someone gets sick, but that’s just not the way it works. We just don’t have enough people to do that, and that’s OK. As long as we can serve clients with the greatest needs first, we can always catch up with the rest later on… provided we get well, fast.