Looking back, here’s how I would have gone about planning for my unexpected absence.
First, I would have identified my key employee to step into my shoes in these scenarios. I would also suggest having a backup to that key employee if you have the staff numbers.
Then, and this part is crucial, you have to select a trigger person. The trigger person is someone who KNOWS to put the plan into play (your spouse or significant other, your best friend, a teenage or adult child capable of making that call). If you’re unable to communicate, someone has to be able to call that key employee and say, “Implement the plan. Julie is going to be out for a week. Here’s what happened.”
I would then tell the key employee(s) that you are working on a plan. I’d also inform the trigger person of the same thing. Make sure your “trigger” person and the key employees have each other’s contact information.
The next step is to create the plan. I am now working on one that applies whether I’m out for a day or two, 1-2 weeks, an entire month, or 1+ months. Those plans all require different levels of preparedness and strategy.
For each plan, the first step is for the key employee to determine if that decision HAS to be made while I’ll be out and that it cannot wait, or be put off, or stalled. That’s a critical part of the plan, and you’ll have to work with your key employee on how to make that determination. From there, you go about building the plans.
I suggest getting that “out for a day or two” plan done first because that’s the most likely scenario that would happen in an emergency. Finally, once I have the “out for a day or two” plan done, I’ll share it with the key employees, we’ll tweak it together, and have a final plan with which they are comfortable.
Then go to work on the other scenarios and similarly review with your employees.