It’s flu season, which means it’s not uncommon to have people missing work due to unforeseen sickness. This month, my content manager McKenzie missed work for three days for that exact reason.
From a boss’ perspective, it can be very frustrating. Unlike vacation days, which are set farther in advance and are readily prepared for, sickness usually comes unexpectedly and can set off an entire team, even an organization!
We’re a small team here, so when someone is out, we feel it. McKenzie has a huge role in our organization, so her absence wasn’t easy.
And while the boss feels frustrated, the employee feels guilty for leaving their boss hanging. They can’t help that they’re sick — something that’s understood on both sides — but it doesn’t make the situation any less inconvenient.
So, how do you re-engage after being out of work for several days? And if you’re the boss, how do you create a space for positive re-engagement on your team?
Your reaction to the unexpected will be dependent on your willingness to (strategically) roll with the punches.
Here are some things we discovered will help alleviate re-engagement stress:
After being out for three days, McKenzie showed up to her first day back with a peace offering. A cup of coffee. Here’s what this does: It sets a positive tone. It makes your boss feel appreciated (and what’s better than a well-appreciated boss?). Also, coffee fixes everything.
Know what you’ve missed.
Check all of the correspondence that went on while you were gone. Especially emails. Do the best you can to catch up on anything you should know about on your own before taking away from someone else’s day to get the lowdown.
Check the status.
Part of McKenzie’s job is scheduling blog posts, running social media, and handling correspondence between clients. While she was sick, all of those things were already scheduled to go out, and so they did. We delivered what people were expecting. But she made sure to check to make sure everything did, in fact, go out. If it didn’t, it would have been her responsibility to create a strategy that will make up for lost time and unmet expectations.
Create a re-engagement timeline.
McKenzie created a list of everything she needed to do in order to get back on track. The most important thing in this is to be honest with your boss — about your workload, and the realistic timeline you’ve set to get back to where you need to be.
Do something fun.
Work is important, but not more important than the people doing the work — and the healthy relationships they have with each other. Take time to reconnect with the people around you as you jump back into your everyday routine.
And from a boss’ perspective, I had to remind myself to be reasonable about the time McKenzie needed to recalibrate. Which can be hard! But if you have responsible workers you trust — workers who follow the tips above — it won’t be too difficult to set realistic expectations for your employees.
Don’t let a few days out of the office throw off your productivity! Create a positive re-engagement process amongst your team.
CLICK HERE to watch me and McKenzie discuss this topic further in a Facebook Live video!
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