Oz’s Business Continuity Blog : “A tension span”

Last week was, to say the least, a bit of a week.

It included a teenage son off school with a cold (a “man cold” that is, and we all know how serious those are), a visit to the physiotherapist for what turned out to be a particularly violent and sadistic torture session on a long-standing shoulder injury, a trip to the dentist for an equally unpleasant going-over and a very busy week work-wise, which included several very early starts and late finishes.

But all of these things paled into insignificance compared with the stress and worry caused by a sick puppy.

Regular readers of my blog will know about Barney, our Field Spaniel puppy, who’s now five months old. Anyway, last weekend, Barney was a bit icky, a fact that he announced with some style when he deposited his dinner on my parents’ new carpet.

Notwithstanding the carpet issue, to start with we weren’t too worried. After all, that’s the sort of thing that dogs do – at least the sort of thing that our dogs do. But after a whole weekend of it – and I’ll spare you the gory details – we took him to see the vet as a precaution.

To cut a long story short, things went from bad to worse and he spent five days and nights as an in-patient, on a drip, enduring a series of tests. Gastro-enteritis, the possibility of surgery to check for a blockage and suspected kidney problems have all made for a tense and worrying week in the Osborne household.

As a result, work-wise my wife and I have been somewhat distracted and have found it difficult to concentrate, particularly whilst waiting for ‘phone calls from the vet with the latest news. All of which contributed to the long days, as it took us about twice as long to get through the stuff we had to do than it normally would. And my stress levels, which normally bubble away at merely pressure-cooker level, were, at times, verging on the stratospheric.

And the point? Well, the point from a business continuity perspective is that we often assume that people will be willing and able to do just what we want, when we want. Which is somewhat naiive, as experience (and common-sense) tells us that this isn’t necessarily the case.

Leaving aside any issues associated with traumatised staff (which I’m sure we’ll touch on in a future blog), if people are distracted by personal issues, their willingness and capacity to focus on work-related stuff are likely to be significantly reduced. So we need to recognise this and account for it in our business continuity plans – whether that’s by doing everything we can to help people deal with their domestic issues or by thinking about alternative ways to resource our critical activities.

Returning briefly to the Barney situation. I’m pleased to report he’s back home with us and, although he’s somewhat slimmer, looks a bit like a pin-cushion and is on more drugs that a certain relative who shall remain nameless, he’s (at least outwardly) back to his previous bouncy self and eating like, well, a spaniel puppy who’s been starved for a week. It’s back to the vet’s tomorrow for another blood test and all of the Osborne family’s fingers are firmly crossed. I hope to be able to report better news in my next blog, so Barney-watchers watch this space…

Related articles : “Appreciating assets“; “It ain’t necessarily so

Update on Barney’s condition (02/12/10) :

Barney’s fans and well-wishers will be pleased to hear that his latest blood tests showed that he doesn’t have any of the nastier diseases we were worried about, and that his kidney functions are now back “within normal parameters”, which is a huge relief for the Osborne family. He has to have another test next month to check everything’s still ok so, whilst we’re quietly confident at this point, we’re just keeping our finger crossed for now.

We still don’t know what caused him to be so ill and I suspect we never will – the top two theories are that he ate something nasty or picked something up from another dog (or something it left behind). At the risk of tempting fate, we’re just thankful that it didn’t prove to be as dire as it was looking at one point.

I’m pleased to report that he’s eating normally again now and has put a bit of weight back on. And he’s well enough to be naughty again, especially now he’s approaching his “teenage” phase!

He send his regards and says thanks for thinking of him.

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