Your due date’s around the corner, and you’re counting off the days till you meet your little one! But if you’re a working mom, you’ve got a few loose ends to tie before you go off to maternity leave. A little planning (and a few short lists) will help everyone. Your co-workers won’t be stuck in a lurch, your clients won’t be calling you in the middle of the day, and you can focus on the big job that lies ahead: caring for, and getting to know, your newborn.
List and distribute your tasks
What do you usually handle at work? List all your accounts and projects, plus the daily tasks or routines that you (and your co-workers) probably take for granted. It’s these small details that normally slip through the cracks. Leaf through your planner for the last two months, or do a ‘work diary’ and note down everything you do during the course of a week.
Then, find someone who can take over these accounts, projects and routine tasks, or at least notify your superiors of the ‘vacuum’ so they can assign it to somebody else.
Organize your files
Organize your documents (physical and digital) into neat folders. Rename files, if necessary, so anyone can find them. You may know what ‘May report’ means, but they won’t. Pick something that is easy to search: ‘Jones sales report – May’ (followed by Jones sales report – June) will help anyone who’s looking for background information, fast.
Create briefing documents and task lists
Sit down and talk to the people who are going to take over your accounts. Try to make the transition as easy as possible—after all, they’re doing you a favor! Provide documents with the details of the account or project, the current status, and what needs to be done by what date. Include reference materials or a list of files that they can find in your work PC if they need additional information.
Inform clients or suppliers of your maternity leave
Tell them who they can call, and ideally, arrange a meeting or a teleconference so they at least ‘know’ each other. Assure them that they will not be ‘abandoned’ while you’re away: either confirm previous timelines or create a more realistic one to give them a picture of what to expect in the next few months. The important thing is to sound like you’re still in control of the situation, and that you have properly turned over the project.
Set an automatic email response
Set up your work email so that anyone who reaches you through that account will be informed that you are on leave.
Overwhelmed at all the preparation you need to do? Read our article on balancing time and energy during pregnancy to help you cope with the day to day demands of work.
Photo from workitmom.com