Before going on maternity or extended parental leave, it’s important to establish realistic expectations with your clients (if you deal directly with them), your manager, and your team. This is particularly important if you plan on returning to the same role when you come back to work.
Consider how you would like to ‘stay connected’ whilst you are on parental leave. Communicate your intentions both verbally and in a written format (for example, via email) to all relevant parties to ensure they are informed.
10 Tips for Managing Client and Team Expectations
- Determine what work will be performed differently or undertaken by others during your pregnancy or leave, and discuss this with your manager.
- Decide when you will commence your parental leave and how much leave you would like to take.
- Communicate any changes to your normal role and/or responsibilities to your colleagues, clients and any direct reports.
- Work with your manager to ascertain if your position will need to be performed by another person(s) during your parental leave and plan to allow for a sufficient hand-over period.
- Document the key aspects of your role, including processes, contacts, relationship management details and histories. Ensure this documentation is easily accessible for relevant colleagues in your absence.
- Prepare for and conduct a thorough hand-over session with the relevant people handling your workload during your parental leave.
- Provide your ‘on leave’ contact details (if appropriate) and indicate how frequently you will be checking emails and voicemail.
- Contact your key clients prior to going on leave to explain when you plan to go on leave. Assure them of the plans that are in place to ensure continued delivery of service. Provide them with new contact details.
- If someone is looking after your role while you are on leave, consider having them as your key contact.
- Update your ‘Out of Office’ message (or similar) with the agreed contact details and timeframe of your absence.