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Many workers do their best to schedule their leave. Planned leave reduces stress on both the worker and the team left to cover for them in their absence. Sometimes, however, life intervenes and leave must be taken without notice. When leave is sudden and unexpected, the impact on the remaining team members can be stressful – or it can be handled smoothly and confidently. Which path the team takes depends on how prepared the team’s leadership is for a surprise leave announcement.

Here’s how to ensure that sudden leave doesn’t disrupt your team.  

Have a plan. 

While it’s not possible to plan for every possible scenario in which the need for leave surprises you and your team, it is possible to consider some of the most likely situations and plan accordingly. 

Start by looking at each team member and asking, “If this person disappeared for two weeks starting tomorrow, what would we do?” 

Nurture cross-training. 

One of the best ways to surprise-proof any team is to ensure that other team members have the skills to step in when any one member of the team cannot work. Cross-training allows these teams to be more resilient. It also improves communication and understanding on teams, since workers understand what each team member deals with on a daily basis. 

If you identify a team member whose absence would cause major disruption, start by encouraging other team members to cross-train on that person’s key skills and tasks. Ideally, you’ll always be able to identify at least two other team members who could step in if any one person had to leave. 

Stay connected to a recruiter. 

Managers with a strong staffing partner relationship tend to experience less stress when a worker has to take unexpected leave. These managers know that assistance in the form of advice or recommendations for qualified temporary talent are just a phone call away. 

At SMR Group, our recruiters connect clients in the medical device, biotech and pharmaceutical industries to some of the best sales and marketing talent throughout the United States. To learn more, contact us today.  


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