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The nature of the virtual workspace, and especially the gig economy, is that many of our working relationships these days are transitory. You hire a virtual assistant, or a graphic designer, or a marketing firm, you work together for a while, and then the relationship dissolves.
And while sometimes that relationship dissolves in a negative way – you end up having to fire your assistant, or they break their contract and leave on bad terms – much more often, things end on good terms. After all, there are a lot of reasons that business relationships end. Sometimes it’s a short-term relationship that ends when the project is over, sometimes your needs outgrow your team member’s skillset, sometimes the virtual team member decides to retire, or return to full-time work, or stop working for a while to care for children or other family members.
In fact, the reality of working relationships ending for a number of reasons, good and bad, happens all the time in the “traditional” corporate world. The difference with small businesses, and particularly small businesses who are working with virtual assistants and online business managers, is that corporations and established businesses tend to have procedures in place for what to do when an employee no longer works for them.
If you’re building a business, now is the perfect time to establish these kinds of procedures for yourself. Ideally, you want to have a plan in place before a team member leaves or is fired (whether that person is internal or external). Putting your plan in place now gives you time to think of everything that needs to be done – the passwords that need to be changed, the permissions that need to be revoked, the emails that need to be re-routed, the web pages that need to be updated – instead of scrambling to think of everything at the last moment.
Let’s face it – it’s usually at least a little bit uncomfortable when someone leaves their employment. That goes doubly if the person is being fired or other wise let go, and it goes triply for small business owners who typically have very little experience with firing. Establishing a plan for termination (voluntary or involuntary) makes things easier on everyone. When you’ve got something in place, it’s not personal – it’s policy.
This is also a good time to put a general data protection plan in place. For example, what are your policies about your team members sharing log-ins, email addresses, or passwords? How often should passwords be changed? How do you handle temporary access to accounts (we recommend options like one-time-use passwords from LastPass)? All too often, business owners don’t think about these kinds of issues until they get burned. Don’t let that happen to you!
Are you overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things that you’ve given someone access to that you now need to revoke or change passwords to? Don’t worry, we have you covered with a great free checklist that covers many of the systems you may need to reset password for. Use the box below to download the checklist now and, as always, if you’re in need of assistance with this or anything else, don’t hesitate to contact us – we can help!