Sick Time? What’s That?

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How do I feel today?...

How do I feel today?…

“I won’t be in to work today – I’m sick”.

Most people with a day job have made a call like that at least once.  If you happened to have a job with benefits, you could even rest easy in the assurance that you would still get paid (as long as you hadn’t used up your allowance of “sick days”).

Then there’s us – the self-employed.

Now, there are certain advantages to being self-employed, at least if you run your business out of your home.  The famous “go to work in your pajamas” idea is one (although, frankly, that one doesn’t work out so well in practice!)

One advantage is that, even if you’re sick, you can still get some work done (assuming you can get out of bed, or are not in the hospital).  Of course, that’s one of the disadvantages, too!

What does the home-business owner do when too sick to get out of bed – or so sick they have to go to the hospital?  Do you have a contingency plan for this kind of emergency?

Of course, there is the advantage of cell phones.  Even if sick in bed, you can possibly rouse yourself enough to phone a client and let them know that you won’t be able to make that meeting, or you will be a bit delayed in getting their project completed.

If you are too sick for that, do you have a fall-back?  Here’s where it helps to have an arrangement with a family member, friend, or business associate – someone who would, in the normal course of events, be aware of your being indisposed.  Set up an agreement with this person where, in the case of your being unable to handle work, they will contact whoever you may tell them to and let them know.  (Having a “script” ready for such an occasion can be a big help to the caller.)

Here’s where good record-keeping can come into play, too.  You may not want your “agent” to call every single one of your customers to tell them you are sick.  You may simply want notice given to anyone who is expecting something from you at that particular time – and if you keep an accurate, up-to-date planner or calendar with work schedules and meetings noted, your “agent” can easily figure out who to contact for you.

If you are suffering from a long-term indisposition – anything from a serious operation to having two broken arms – you might want to be able to post a notice on your website, as well.  If you have a webmaster caring for your site, you need only arrange for the webmaster to be one of the people contacted.  If you manage your own website, it would be a very good idea to have someone you trust as a secondary manager, with the access permissions and the know-how to access your website and post a simple announcement.

(Of course, if you, like me, are a webmaster yourself, this becomes a compound problem!  Hmmm, think I’d better talk to my brother-in-law, who knows how to use the same web design program I use…)

Being sick is never any fun.  Being self-employed and sick adds certain complications.  The time to make plans is before you are sick!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll take my flu and go back to bed…

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