My Boss is Going on Maternity Leave, Now What?
By Deborah Sweeney on October 15, 2013
As both a CEO and mother to two boys, I have been on maternity leave in the past and also manage, as well as employ, many employees who are or who have been on maternity leave too. It’s not hard to understand how employees feel when a pregnant boss is getting ready to go on leave – worry that the business might not run as smoothly, that distance may form between the boss and employee from lack of constant communication, and maybe even some hesitation that every member of the team will be able to rise up and propel the company forward. Keep calm and keep the following keys in mind at the workplace so that the leave turns out to be a breeze to manage.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
The biggest key to successful maternity leave, and even pregnancy, is communication, communication, communication. This works for both the boss as well as the team – when I was pregnant, I reached out to the company I was currently working for to take a shorter leave in exchange for greater flexibility over the long term. (Which they agreed to!) If I hadn't communicated, the company would not have known my desires and they probably would have followed standard protocol instead. The same must go for your team – be sure to communicate well in advance how long your leave may be, the appropriate point of contact (if needed) for their department, and how they can best reach you.
Be Clear About Roles and Duties
For both a short-term and long-term maternity leave, be sure that your staff knows early on if they will have additional roles and duties to perform. This is seldom seen as a bad thing – employees are often willing and excited to take on more roles for a short-term period and it also gives the company a chance for cross-training that can ultimately be beneficial for the business.
Be Just as Flexible Back
You may be on maternity leave, but your team isn’t and they’ll still be counting on you helping to keep their schedules flexible for visits to the dentist, after-school soccer games, or a major crisis that comes up unexpectedly. Remain just as flexible on leave as you were before. You already know your staff and what is important to them – so long as certain standards and initiatives are met in the workplace, there is still room to stay flexible on scheduling.
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