The Safety Net and Sickness

Thursday August 4, 2016

Hi Nettie @ The SafetyNet

As you know we are a small team, and last week I ended up cancelling all sorts of meetings and tasks I had promised to do as one of my team was off sick.

It felt as though when they came back to work, they had been kept up straight at the detriment of my work.

I appreciate that by running my own business this falls to me, but with the holiday season upon us as well, this seems to be having a massive impact on me.

I expected to have to work extra, but it feels like weekends, evenings and any spare moment is working time at the moment – what would you advise?

Sorry, just one of those moments when it’s lonely running a business and need some advice!




Hi Sam

Like you, most of us running a business or a department know that sinking feeling when you have a busy day planned and your day starts with that sickness call…

The important things to consider tend to become a muddle very quickly if you let them.

To start with the welfare of the member of staff needs to be considered. Talk to them if you haven’t already, and establish the problem and how long they think they will be off.

If they are to be off for a day or so, then maybe check their diary, post and emails. Consider what requires attention straight away and what can be dealt with later.


Then it’s about getting organised. If the member of staff is going to be off for a short time, keep an eye on emails, either yourself or a colleague can do their appointments or calls booked etc., make sure the customer has been looked after and then get on with your own role.

Then do the same with your own workload – if you find there are clashes between your diary and the colleague who is off sick, then ask another colleague to pick up the member of staff’s appointments who is off, or rearrange one of the appointments.

It should really be a team effort to cover sickness and holiday and often when this situation arises it highlights both skills gaps and team work gaps within the team that can be addressed via a training / development plan – please let me know if you would like to discuss this further.

If the member of staff is likely to be off for more than a week – then the process remains the same, although you may need to inform some of their clients, suppliers, other staff members or whatever is appropriate for the role.

Hope this helps, and try and enjoy some sunshine and family time – you know what they say about ‘all work and no play….’

You have a team around you, work together as a team and you’ll find its much easier to deal with these unexpected situations.

Have a good summer - Nettie

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