Maternity leave can look very different for each mother depending on where she works, her position, etc. For some it means taking time to solely focus on a newborn and not stressing about what is happening at the office, but for others, it means taking minimum time off and still checking your emails or being a part of calls and meetings. Whichever route it is, planning for maternity leave can be frustrating, intimidating and stressful; however, creating a detailed plan and passing on some of your responsibilities beforehand will help the transition be smoother and easier.
Creating a Plan
Personally, I wanted to have a plan established well before my daughter arrived. I sat down with my coworkers and figured out who would take on my daily, weekly and monthly tasks for each client. Additionally, we wrote down every login, every contact and every bit of information that would potentially be needed during my maternity leave. I also discussed how involved I wanted to be while on leave. This helped establish some boundaries and expectations for my coworkers.
Once we had this document set, we created a timeline that included my due date, anticipated leave date and anticipated return date. For our team, we also determined a date that would be my “cut-off date” where I would be cut-off from client communication even if I was still in the office. This allowed us to test the waters and make sure everything was running smoothly but allowed me to be available internally if needed.
Prior to that date, I worked with a coworker every week to help her transition into my role. At the beginning, it included me doing the task or assignment and her watching and asking questions, then toward the end, roles reversed and she conducted the tasks and assignments. This worked best for our team, but your team may need a different strategy.
We emailed each client informing them of my leave, who would be stepping in, the timeline and ensured them that our team would still be there to fully assist them. This was something that we felt was necessary and beneficial to our clients.
Once we hit my “cut-off date,” my coworkers stopped CCing me on emails and I no longer worked on client projects. This was a great strategy to transition into maternity leave without being gone as a trial and error period.
There were plenty of hiccups along the way but these were the steps we took to help my coworkers and clients while I was on maternity leave. I hope you find it useful and can build your own personalized maternity leave plan!