Here’s something no one wants to think about: unexpectedly missing work. Whether it’s an illness that keeps you home for a few days, or a family emergency that requires an extended absence, circumstances that keep you from work can happen when you least expect them. Then, while you’re unexpectedly absent, it’s likely business as usual back at the office. Depending on the length of your absence, your coworkers may need to pitch in on your workload to keep things operating smoothly. That’s no easy task, especially if your job is specialized and involves passwords and processes others don’t know.
So, in an effort to help your coworkers and to give you some peace of mind, try creating a file or document with information that may be needed during your absence. Whether you have a physical binder at your desk or a file in your organization’s shared drive, be sure to include the following pieces of information.
Websites, logins, and passwords: Be sure to have a list of all the work-related websites, databases, or programs you use and the logins and passwords to access them. Whether it’s a website for purchasing supplies or it’s a database for your membership records, be sure to have this information in one, secure place. (No, sticky notes around your cubicle do not count!)
Process documents: Be sure to have step-by-step instructions for your essential tasks. Use screenshots if your task is on the computer. Creating process documents may seem daunting, but just set aside a few extra minutes to take notes on your tasks in the coming weeks. Little by little, you’ll get them done.
General notes and reminders: Most people probably do tasks that their coworkers don’t even know exist. Be sure to leave some general tips/instructions. For example, if you always run a certain report the day before a board meeting, make sure to list that. In your absence, you don’t want those tasks falling through the cracks.