We all know that there is nothing more important than keeping an office running during a planned or unexpected absence. Even though a staff member is not present, the daily office tasks and routines still need to be accomplished. Depending on the size of your office or the role of the person taking the absence, the effects can be detrimental to the entire office. There are ways that you can minimize the effects of an absence in your office.
If you or another employee in the office has advanced knowledge of the time that they need off, encourage them to let you know as soon as possible. Explain the need for important tasks to be covered in their absence. It may also be a good idea to have an office calendar that details when someone will be out of the office so that the staff can be prepared. This can also prevent multiple staff members from taking the same time slot off as everyone else, essentially leaving the office empty and tasks unaccomplished.
Anticipate the Potential Challenges
Anticipate any upcoming projects or tasks that must be completed in their absence. Having advanced knowledge of what needs to be taken care of will prevent surprises and work falling to the waist side. Know the responsibilities and daily tasks of the person that will be absent. Make sure that their tasks will be worked by someone in the office. The more advanced notice that you have, the better you can prepare. It is a good idea to replace the person that will be absent with a temporary employee from a staffing agency. This will ensure that their daily tasks will get accomplished, and reduce the amount of stress of others in the office who would have had to take on additional work. Staffing agencies can provide a temporary employee for as long as you need. This would be essential for an absence due to maternity leave, vacation, FMLA, or military leave.
An absence in an office regardless of the size can bring tension to the remaining staff. The other staff members may feel anxious or over worked from having to take on added responsibilities on top of their already demanding tasks. While most employees will assume the tasks of their co-workers, repeated absences can strain the morale of the team and create a negative and hostile work environment if not dealt with properly. Overloading another employee with work can lead to them needing time off to cope with the added stress at the office. If at all possible, seek out a temporary employee who can assume the tasks of the person that will be absent.
Clients are the main success for any business. If the client is not happy or unsatisfied, that can cause your office to lose more potential clients and ultimately revenue. If your office is under staffed and the client’s needs are not being met, that can cause significant problems. In the event of an absence, devise a plan that will ensure that all of the client’s needs will be taken care of. Temporarily assign the clients to a different staff member to work with during the absence. Make sure that all emails and voicemail messages leave another contact person for the client to get in touch with if the matter cannot wait. Make sure that another staff member has access to the client’s files and pertinent information. This will prevent any of the client’s needs from being overlooked.