This has been a rough flu season. Our whole team is virtual, and none of us are in the same city, but some how we all caught the flu off each other! It seemed like every week we had a different team member out sick. Luckily it looks like this year’s flu season is slowing down, and we’ll be over the worst of it soon. But it did make us look at our processes a little more closely, so we could better cover for each other.
Here’s what we learned:
- Project management tools are essential – we needed to be able to communicate where projects were at, and what items were pending to the team, that way projects could continue seamlessly while we got some much-needed rest.
- Keep an up-to-date skillset for your team, so you know who you can pull in if another team member is out. It’s also a great idea to have overlapping skills within the team, invest in cross-training.
- We really had to enforce taking that time off and keeping communication tight during flu season helped with that. More “brick and mortar” offices are insisting that staff stay home if they’re sick, to protect the wellness of co-workers. Working virtually tends to blur this line a bit, where team members are working through their illnesses instead of stepping back and resting. Create a culture within your business that focuses on the whole team member, their physical, emotional and mental wellness. We never work as well when we’re under the weather, but we also hate letting others down. Remind your team that they are a team and taking care of each other is as much a part of the job as any other task they may take on.
- Regular team meetings all year long really does improve overall communication. Our core team meets weekly and we are completely up to date on each other’s projects. This is a huge advantage when one person is off.
- We watch the workloads of the team, and if we sense overwhelm (read – exhaustion), we jump in and reassign some tasks. Too much stress can weaken your immune system, so let’s share the load!
Being a small business owner does not automatically make you a superhero with the power of immunity!
We all get sick, and we all need a little time off. Being a small business owner does not automatically make you a superhero with the power of immunity! Preparing in advance for downtime helps ease the stress (and rush) of returning back to business as usual. A little planning goes a long way!