As flu season quickly approaches, almost every office will need to deal with the sudden, unplanned absence of key members of the team. Some lost productivity due to illness is inevitable, but having good plans and solutions in place to deal with employee absence can make the difference between a minor setback and a paralyzing crisis. So, what should an office manager be thinking about in terms of technology solutions to mitigate the problems of sick days?
- Automatic Replies—Outlook and other email clients have the ability to turn on an “out of office” reply, letting anyone who emails them know that they are out and should not expect a prompt return email. In Outlook, these messages can be customized, edited and users can select different messages to be sent to people inside and outside of their organization. These messages should always include contact information or instructions on what to do if someone is in need of immediate assistance.
- Availability of Information—In any organization it is a good idea to ensure that there is no information that is only accessible by one person. Offices with file servers and shared drives have the infrastructure in place to be able to easily access data and collaborate. Of course, to guarantee that others will have access to their files when they are out sick, employees must be properly trained to save their work on the server and not locally to their computers.
- Remote Access—Being available and able to work at all times is a double-edged sword. Sick employees should of course be able to unplug and rest (See our article on Technology and Work-Life Balance Here) but for instances of critical importance or on days when someone is well but unable to get to work (the inevitable Minnesota snow day, or caring for a sick child) it can be a lifesaver to have remote desktop capabilities. Remote tools allow workers to access their office computer securely from offsite and minimize the setbacks of a lost day.
- Documentation—In any office there are tasks that almost anyone can do but only one person normally does. Making and maintaining clear, accessible Standard Operating Procedure documents on your office’s server can provide tools to allow another worker to fill in for whoever is absent.
By taking some basic steps to upgrade your company’s technological solutions, it’s possible to keep an employee’s headache from becoming a major headache for the business. If you’d like to learn more about putting solutions in place to prepare your office for employee absence, give us a call at Mankato Computer Repair.