Personal emergencies – such as illness, a death in the family, or an accident – often involve taking unexpected time off work. However, these situations can be especially challenging for administrative professionals who are responsible for keeping their executives and offices running smoothly.
When disaster strikes, you need to focus on your family and yourself during a personal disaster … not what’s going on back at work. However, to successfully disconnect and bounce back, there are some plans, systems, and procedures you need to put in place to be prepared.
Emergency communication plan: Does your office have an emergency communication plan? Does your family? Both are essential when a disaster strikes — whether it’s personal, natural, or an office emergency. You, along with your executive, colleagues, and family members should all know who to call when something happens, and the necessary contact information should be easily accessible. A detailed emergency communication plan can reduce panic and ensure that everyone is connected, regardless of the situation. (Click here for tips on creating your plan.)
Self-care system: Taking care of yourself is important during personal disasters – even if you’re not the person who is sick or injured. Yet it often gets overlooked, especially if you’re caring for someone else or trying to handle a difficult situation. This is why you need to have a focused self-care system that factors in your emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, professional, and relational well-being. I recommend using a journal to list ways you can take care of yourself, such as getting your hair cut, going to the dentist, working out, and taking vitamins. Then, each day, pick one thing from the list and do it. Record the time and date you completed it and how you felt. This exercise will make sure you don’t neglect yourself amidst the stress and chaos, and it can help you bounce back faster.
Back-up procedures: Administrative procedures are extremely important for all admins. Yet back-up procedures can be a lifesaver and a career-saver if you encounter a personal emergency. Your back-up procedures should include detailed instructions for mission-critical items that need to be done in your absence, as well as the location of important files/items, and a list of key contacts. Creating these procedures is a great way to ensure your office doesn’t crumble while you’re gone. They also give you peace of mind that important tasks will be handled so you can focus on yourself or your family. For an added layer of reassurance, have someone test out your back-up procedures to make sure they’re complete and can be followed without your guidance.
When a disaster strikes, most people don’t think as clearly. By putting these plans, systems, and procedures in place now, you can save yourself from added stress and focus on what’s important: yourself and your family.
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.