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October 24, 2017 | 07:25 AM
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15.06.20124 Work Recovery Tips For CEOs Under The Weather

"Get well soon" is quickly evolving into a loaded statement in the workplace.


Deborah Sweeney, Forbes.com

“Get well soon” is quickly evolving into a loaded statement in the workplace.

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Recently, I was out of the office with a bout of pneumonia. Try as I might (and boy did I ever) there came a point in which I couldn’t fight the fact that I was truly sick and had to get some bed rest for a few days. The world kept turning, daily life at my company continued on, and Outlook inbox overflowed with email after email. One message even included the question “are you alive?” in it.

Was I alive? Physically yes, virtually no. This is becoming an increasing difficulty for CEOs required to be constantly “on” whether it’s a rapid fire email response, a speedy tweet on the go, or a status on your Facebook account. Miss a couple of hours and people begin to wonder where you are, but are still confident that perhaps you could be trapped in a meeting or out for the afternoon. Miss an entire 24 hours and this means re-sending the message just in case it got lost along the way or wound up in a spam folder.

Miss 48 hours or more and the search to find the online version of you begins.

Sounds harsh, I know, but that’s the way of real time communication. You can’t escape it and at some point will need to address what happened. Work recovery at the office is a process of its own but certainly one that can be managed with plenty of TLC.

1) Have a Strong Team in Place

In the event of an emergency of any sort, your business should be set up to the point where it can self run itself if need be. This is where employing and having a strong staff of team players on deck will keep your company going whether you are there or not. Alert them early on about being out of the office so they know what to expect and if need be, assign a few people to hold down the fort, particularly if you have hired a crop of new employees.

2) Keep Your Inbox Cleaned Out

In general, your email Outlook should have a relatively low count of emails in it whenever possible so that when and if you do get sick, the sudden message downpour that arrives won’t look as daunting to deal with. Organize older messages you need to keep into folders and leave whatever you’re still working on in the inbox. If you have a personal or executive assistant that you entrust to check into your emails, they may be able to help delete some of the more spammy messages if needed.

3)  Should You Make an Out of Office Response?

It’s an option entirely up to you whether or not to have an OOO message sent out but one that I recommend skipping unless you’re still sick for more than 48 hours. If you recover sooner, you can write at the beginning of your emails or say at the start of a voicemail, “Sorry you haven’t heard from me, I was under the weather for a few days and just got back to the office.” Most everyone will be fine with that opening alone.

4) Take Care of Yourself First

It’s the biggest recovery tip of all and one that we typically stampede ourselves into achieving faster and faster. If you have a strong company team and are on top of your assignments and work, then the only thing left to do is wait it out. Get plenty of sleep, fluids, and enjoy watching the bad TV and movies while you can.

 



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