The countdown to parental leave can be a very exciting and overwhelming time. While your thoughts might be completely occupied with a brand new crib or bottle steriliser, you also need to consider your workload and career.
Adequately preparing for maternity/paternity leave will ensure that your colleagues are ready for your absence, it will also make your eventual return to work much easier.
So what steps do you need to take before you head off into baby bliss? Follow our tips below.
Train your replacement
One of the most important things for you to do before your parental leave is to train the people who are taking on your responsibilities. Write a thorough handover that includes passwords or any information they may need. Be sure to give them the opportunity to try tasks on their own while you’re still at work so that they’ll feel confident in their abilities when you’re gone.
Think about childcare
Try to figure out your childcare situation before you head off on parental leave. Sure, it might seem a bit early but it’s good to have a plan in place. Talk to people you know who might have recommendations. Remember that many creches have extensive waiting lists so you will need to act quickly.
Alert your usual clients
If you have regular clients and customers, you should call or email them to let them know that you will be off on parental leave. You should always provide an estimated date of when you will be back. Remember that these relationships are important so you need to keep them informed.
Suss out work groups
Take some time to find out whether your company has support groups for parents. If so, find out about who runs them, when their meetings are and how to join. These groups can help you to feel less alone when you return from parental leave. They also a great source of advice.
Clean up your workspace
Don’t forget to tidy up your desk before you go. Studies have shown that cleaning can boost your productivity. Plus, nobody wants to come back to a desk with food or snacks that are weeks or maybe even months old!
Thank people for picking up the slack
It’s really important to thank the people that will be covering for you. Take your team out for lunch, buy some office treats or at the very least send them a kind email during your last week. It’s a nice thing to do and people will remember you in a positive way while you’re gone.
Before you leave, you need to make sure that you have set up an out-of-office response for your emails and business voicemail with contact information for your replacement. If you need (or want) to access your work while you’re away, you should make sure that you’re familiar with your company’s remote login process or cloud-based platform.