No one likes to consider themselves getting ill, we all feel invincible until it happens to us…. If you were unable to work for several weeks, do you have a backup plan to ensure the continuity of your work and household?

It is hard enough to be out of work for a week when you know about it in advance. It is even more difficult to prepare for an absence that may come suddenly. The last thing you should have to think about when you’re feeling terrible, is how you’re going to delegate all the tasks that need to be done. This is why a backup plan is an essential tool to every business and household.

I’ve broken down the key areas where you can plan/take action in advance. Ensuring you’re prepared for any emergency when it arrives.

Create a manual for your job

Typically, an operations manual is either a book or folder of printed documents containing all your standard operating procedures. Think of it as an encyclopaedia for your business. It’s the backup plan ‘how to..’

The challenge here is to include as much detail in your operations manual to serve as a comprehensive knowledge base. At the same time don’t add detail where it’s not needed. Too much detail and you’ll be encouraging them to skip instructions. Although, too little and they may fail follow the instructions at all. Try asking someone to follow the instructions in advance, this way you’ll know if you’ve achieved the right balance.

Have you got a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place?

 The BCP is an internal operational document that is constantly monitored and updated to reflect your on-going business needs. This may include, but would not be restricted to your operations manual. This document covers areas, such as:

Potential Workplace Incidents – These are incidents that would affect the running of your business. These incidents might be, for example, computer failure or theft. Then, as a business, you address how you would continue to deliver your services in relation to each of these circumstances.

 Business Impact – This is where you consider and create a time frame in which you, the business owner, will respond to each of the potential incidents mentioned above.

 Resources Required for Recovery – This might include staff or documents that you would need to recover from the potential incident.

 Team/ Business/Supplier/Customer Contact Details – Are contact details for your clients accessible if case you were for some reason unable to work?

We rarely get advance warning that disaster is ready to strike. Every incident when it happens is unique and unfolds in unexpected ways.  A BCP, gives your business the best shot at success during a disaster, allowing you to recover quickly and fundamentally stay in business.

Who could you ask for help?

None of us are good at asking for help when we need it, but with a little forward planning you can take the awkwardness out of the situation. Some business owners have a verbal agreement with specific individuals to support them with their business, if for some reason they were unable to work. Is there someone you could reach out to and have this discussion with?

Of course, your workplace isn’t the only place you may need help. Your family and home life may also need some support during a difficult time. Who will take your children to school? Who will get your shopping in? When considering your backup plan, write a list of people you would feel comfortable reaching out to, along with their contact details – just remember to update this list when necessary.

Activities and Commitments

If you have a young family you may have many activities, groups and clubs that each family member regularly attends. If something was to happen to you, who would know what to do and how to get in touch with them if need be? Create a spreadsheet of regular family commitments and activities and make sure this is accessible to all who need it.

In case of Emergency

A sobering thought, but if there was an accident that involved yourself, it can help the emergency services if you have the details of your next of kin easily accessible. Keep the details of the person you wish to be notified in your wallet or purse. It’s also worth putting the letters ICE (In Case of Emergency) in front of your next of kin contact in your phone.

Putting these things together can be both terrifying and liberating, but it’s essential for your businesses and our families that we take control. If you need any advice or assistance on the advice given above, please get in touch – I would be happy to help.

This article was written by Sandy Hearn at Elite PA Solutions. Elite PA Solutions is a team of Virtual Assistants who will save you time by taking care of the operational side of both your business and personal life.  Our mission is to ensure your life runs more smoothly, it’s as simple as that. 

You can learn more about how I can help you by visiting or feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or contact us at

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