How to cope when an integral team member goes off sick

Whether you’re part of a small team, or are experiencing a busy period, there’s nothing more stressful than an integral member of your staff going off sick.

This may cause you to go into panic mode, but I’m here to show you the simple ways to prevent this panic and outline how your team can still be successful, one team member down.

Plan in advance

No one knows when they’re going to be sick, so it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and prepare for these situations.

I like to make sure work and responsibilities are delegated across my team – if you only have one person with all of the knowledge on a particular project, it can create a big problem if they’re sick.

It’s also a good idea to keep important documents and notes in a shared folder so if someone is off, any other member of the team can go in and pick up their work.

Finally, spend time encouraging staff to share knowledge and skills so there’s no knowledge gaps when people are off.

Give other team members the opportunity to step up

Put your trust in your employees to step up and take on additional tasks to ensure business success, even if you’re low on numbers.

This will not only mean that work can continue without the integral team member, but it also allows other employees to learn and grow in their role.

Just remember not to put too much pressure on employees to take on more responsibility than they’re comfortable with as this may demotivate them

Keep track of work during absences

It’s important to remember that team members who are sick may also be feeling stressed about not being at work, so think about the things you can do to make it easier for them when they return, such as return to work interviews and phased return to work plans.

To make sure employees are kept in the loop during their time off, you can keep a log of any work that’s been actioned so that they don’t miss anything. This way when they return to work, they can quickly catch up on what’s been going on.

Don’t pressure the member of staff that’s sick

It can be tempting as a manager to contact the integral member of your team who’s off sick, but it’s not a very good idea – ask yourself, would you want to be contacted when you’re off?

You should only contact your employee if it’s absolutely critical, if not you should try to wait until they’re back at work.

Written by
Scott Dylan
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Scott Dylan

Scott Dylan

I’m Scott Dylan, Inc & Co Co-Founder. I oversee the company's strategic direction and work to acquire and invest in distressed and viable companies, helping businesses improve their business processes and setting strategic directions.


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