Over the last few years, my mother-in-law (who lives in the USA) has been through a number of very serious surgeries. Because she lived in MI it made it easier for my wife Darlene to go visit for a few days to help her work through recovery. Over a year ago, she moved from Michigan to Florida and lives there full- time making it a lot more difficult to travel which means weekend visits are out
This last surgery was much more serious in nature and Darlene flew to Florida for a week to be with her. She asked me if I’d be okay looking after our kids all by myself and to be honest, I thought it would be a piece of cake. Boy… was I in for a huge surprise.
Waking the kids up…and making sure they rolled out of bed… check
Making breakfast …check
Feeding the dogs… getting them out for a walk… check.
Making the lunches that they both like, they seem to have different acquired tastes … check.
Getting the kids off to school in time to catch each of their bus… yikes!
Cleaning up after the morning events and still try get showered and make it out the door on time…check (well sort of).
It’s funny, they do say that absences make the heart grow fonder, but it also got me to realize how much my lovely wife truly does each and every day to keep our household running smoothly. Oh, and the evenings were just as challenging. Cooking dinner, cleaning, making sure all the animals are fed, doing the laundry (took me a while to figure out the new washing machine) making sure homework assignments were completed and getting the kids off to their extracurricular activities, picking them up, getting them off to bed at decent time just so they can get up and start the entire process over the next day… wow.
I guess it’s true that sometimes you don’t realize how much someone does, until you end up going through all the motions yourself. While she was gone, I managed to work through some of the daily events. However trying to keep up all week with household chores and taking care of the children along with keeping up with my work schedule was very challenging. I know I don’t say it enough but thank you honey for keeping our family running as smoothly as you do! If you can relate…don’t forget to thank your spouse for everything they do too!
That extra long week really gave me a better appreciation of what a single parent does each and every day of their lives. I applaud all single parents for doing the job of two…and still making it to work on-time! It also got me thinking about what happens when we lose an employee. When a key employee is off unexpectedly for a few days, employers may be able to divide up their important tasks between the rest of the team and make it through until that employee returns. Depending on the role, some duties may have to wait until that individual comes back and that’s when “the laundry” can really start piling up.
But what if that key employee is gone for a long period of time, or worse yet, isn’t coming back? A few years ago our company hired an individual whose key task was to be trained on the majority of roles in our organization, just in case. This individual has become a very valuable member of our team as the employee is able to fill-in during vacations, illness’ and other family emergencies that can crop up when we least expect it. This ensures our business can continue to run without a snag.
I learned many years ago the hard way when my laptop was stolen and I lost all my data the importance of “backing up” my computer system every night. It took me forever to get the information back and I’m sure there are calls or appointments I missed. (I apologize if someone reading this happens to be one of those appointments).
So what about you? What’s your “back-up” plan if you lost a key employee for a week or two…or longer? You certainly don’t ever want it to happen but what if they got hit by a bus tomorrow? Would your business be able to run status quo without a snag or would it be catastrophic for you, your company and your customers? Losing a key employee if you’re not prepared with a backup plan could be devastating to your business. In addition to saving your butt in a crisis, cross training also improves workflow between departments and ultimately improves the overall productivity within an organization which also helps companies stay competitive.
And while we’re on the subject, let’s dig a bit deeper. Do you have a back-up plan if your office building was engulfed in flames and all your files went up in smoke? Jeff Bryan Transport experienced a fire that could have destroyed their business completely in 2011 Thanksgiving weekend. Because they had a backup plan and immediately implemented it, they had the business up and running again without a snag by Monday morning in a temporary office. Once you are over the shock of it all, you still have take immediate action to be able to keep the business going and figure out where the freight is and what Driver was scheduled to pick it up. Just think about how many families and business are counting on you to pull through.
So here’s your action item. If you don’t have a detailed emergency backup plan…don’t wait another day. Thankfully, my mother-in-law is slowly improving from this surgery but we know there will be other surgeries later this year that will require another trip for my wife. I’m thinking it may be time to start putting together a better backup plan at home and do some cross training with the kids for some of the additional tasks at hand to make this next trip run a bit smoother on the home front.
About the Author
Glenn Caldwell is the Vice-President of Sales for NAL Insurance Inc. of London ON. For over 25 years, Glenn has worked closely with many fleets across the country to ensure their Owner/Operators have the protection they need to Keep Rollin’. You can reach him 800 265 1657-3350 or firstname.lastname@example.org