Interesting discussion arose recently on one of the VA forums and I thought I’d bring the topic here. How do you handle things if you’re not well and have client work to be done?
I guess the answer really depends on the timing for that work and the relationship you have with your clients. Also, just how sick you might be?
If I’ve had a day where I’ve felt a bit ‘off’ but not needing to be in bed, I will work at half capacity, completing anything that might have had a deadline for that day and putting aside non-urgent items. I might even let the phone go to voicemail and check that periodically. I’ve been known to go lie down on the couch in the loungeroom for an hour or two and then go back to check on things in the office.
If I’m worse than that and know there are jobs that need completing I’ll check with some members of my Virtual Assistant team to see who is available and can take on the jobs for me – that way the client is still being looked after. At this stage there still isn’t a need to notify my client of my illness – their work is being carried out and it will come back to me before being forwarded to the client.
What about if it’s more serious than that and I can’t be in my office for a few days and away from the phone? Then obviously I need to let my clients know that I’ll be unavailable for a few days but that I have organised for others to look after them and will make the necessary introductions to get that happening.
Ultimately, as business owners, it is our responsibiilty to make sure that commitments we’ve taken on are being respected and looked after and we should be making sure that alternative arrangements are made to ensure that deadlines can be met. Handing things back to a client and saying “I’m sorry, but I can’t do it for you…” is not something that should be considered unless all other options have been tried. Evenso, I would be very reluctant to do this, irrespective of the reasons. Clients need to know you’re dependable, even when life isn’t.