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Hit By A Bus
If you were suddenly unavailable, what would happen?
Many things that happen in life come “out of the blue.”
If you were suddenly unreachable by phone, text, Zoom, Teams, carrier pigeon, etc., what would your people do?
Have a plan. We call ours the “Hit by a Bus” plan because we are, well, a bit morbid. But it’s a real-world possibility—people end up hospitalized and unable to call in from traffic accidents every day.
Designate a “point-person” to cover things in the short-run. This needs to be someone whose integrity and competence you trust. Tell them they are your designated point-person if you are ever in a situation like this.
Prepare a document for that point-person that includes important information they would need, and let them know where to find it. If this document includes passwords, access codes, the combo to the wall safe, the location of the wall safe, or other sensitive information, then either use password protection (and let them pick the password!) or print out a paper copy and give it to the point-person in a sealed envelope, with the instructions of what it contains and how to store it in a safe place (home safe, safe-deposit box, etc.).
Include other important info in this document, such as a list of people you keep in contact with for ongoing issues—current clients, vendors, state agencies, etc.—along with their contact info (email, phone, etc.—whatever you usually use to contact them).
Include due dates and recipient info for important deadlines, such as sending tax documents.
Include a list of the things you check or do regularly, just so nothing falls through the cracks. This part of the list can be pasted into a “Things to keep an eye on while I’m on vacation next week” document, as well.
Update this document annually. It’s good to keep it current, and it sometimes reminds YOU of things you need to check.
Make sure you are not the only person who knows how to do something vital. Train at least one other person to competency in every facet of your job. Not only will you have people to whom you can then delegate some of this work, you have started to “train your replacement(s)” for when you are promoted or take on another expanded role. Or if you win the lottery—this type of preparation can be useful in good times and bad.
People facing a crisis like this in the office can rise to the occasion, but it’s a lot easier if you can give them your guidance… for a time when you might not be able to give them your guidance.