Yes, not a pleasant thought, but this did happen to me. No, not the truck =), a broken and dislocated ankle. But there is nothing more vivid than the truck test to focus your attention on preparing you organization for the unexpected.
What has that person be working on? What are you policies for checking the person’s voicemail and email? And if the laptop is destroyed, are critical documents and plans lost as well? Here are three things for surviving the truck test:
Centralize – Laptops are great for their mobility – you can take it home or away on a sales trip thereby getting more work done outside of traditional work hours. But there is a tendency to save documents to the laptop instead of a shared server or intranet. In case of an extended leave, the challenge is accessing documents that may be relevant to the team, especially for sales information, marketing plans or other documents critical to the company. Ensure that documents are saved on a company server or intranet for easy access.
Standardize – Let’s assume that you have a server to save documents. To ensure that you can easily find critical information, create a policy that outlines 1) what documents are to be saved to the server and 2) how to name documents for consistency. For point 2, I recommend always including a) the person’s name, b) main subject and c) date. For example, “MaryMediaList_May252007” is easier to find than just “MediaList.” The date also helps for versioning.
Communicate – Assuming that your team member survived the truck test, it’s important to provide regular updates. Not only does your team want to express their best wishes for a speedy recovery but also will help minimize confusion as to 1) what happened, 2) when is he/she coming back and 3) who is handling his/her responsibilities in the meantime.
By just focusing on these three factors, you can begin preparing your organization for the unexpected.
What has your company done TODAY to ensure that YOU survive the truck test?