Dealing With Death on an Extended
By Lawrence Reaves
When you are preparing an extended stay business trip,
whether in your home country or abroad, it is common to
draw up a contingency plan in order to prepare for
certain problems that may occur along the way. These
problems may include what to do if you get separated
from the group, if there is a natural disaster, and even
in today's uncertain world what to do in case of a
terrorist attack. However, there is one situation that
may occur more often than you think that is hardly ever
anticipated, and that is the abrupt death of a colleague
during your stay.
If your business stay is not too far away, the death of
a business colleague will typically mean putting off the
meeting until the situation is taken care of and a
replacement can be found. However, in cases where a lot
of time, money, and effort have been put into a business
trip, such as an important meeting with business
partners or clients in another country, putting things
off until the situation has been taken care of is not
usually an option.
People can die suddenly for a number of reasons, as it
is possible to have a medical condition without knowing
about it. Heart attacks and brain aneurysms are common
reasons for an instant and unexpected death that we
often do not even think about. Obviously coping with
this unfortunate event will be much more difficult for
you if you were close to the colleague, and going on
with business as usual will not be as easy.
The first thing you will obviously want to do if a
colleague dies during an extended stay business trip is
to call an ambulance so he or she may be taken to a
hospital. Your colleague may only be unconscious and in
desperate need of prompt medical attention. If you do
not know the emergency number in the country where you
are staying, a phone book may be of service, or the
staff at the hotel where you are staying.
Next, it is important that you place a call to your boss
or supervisor and inform them of what happened. They
will be able to inform your colleague's next of kin as
well as work out a plan for how the business trip should
proceed. It is important not to tell them that your
colleague has died unless you have received an official
statement from a doctor. You don't want to cause the
family any unnecessary grief if you happen to be wrong.
Once this has been taken care of, you are left with the
difficult task of going on with the business meeting.
You may be able to receive a few extra days to cope with
the event by calling up the client you are scheduled to
meet with and explaining to them what happened. However,
make sure you do this only with the approval of your
superior, as they may want to keep unfortunate events
such as this in secret.
Lawrence Reaves has been in the Richmond corporate
apartment business for over thirty years. He has acted
as a consultant, a buyer, and a seller and currently
works at DabneyProperties.com.