At this point, I am 18 days from my due date… but who’s counting!? This will be my second child, both of which will have been born while working at Trevelino/Keller. Leaving for maternity leave, or any other long term leave for that matter, takes a lot of planning, because who wants to be that person who leaves their teams high and dry? During my time at T/K I’ve covered maternity leaves for three of my colleagues and their adorable kids (all boys I should add, there’s definitely something in the water at our office). The one thing we’ve all had in common when it comes to planning is that we start early… and deliver late. Ha!
To begin, I create a down and dirty list of literally everything I’m doing. This list becomes my life the last month before my baby is due. I write down every mundane task I accomplish in this list. It helps me to take a better look at everything I do, in order to create tasks I can delegate to others while I’m out. I also think back to the same time frame the year prior. What was I working on? Was I doing anything that was agency specific that might get dropped this year if I don’t include it in my tasks? For me, I really try to focus on the smallest items, as the bigger tasks present themselves on a more regular basis. Also, I recommend taking a deep look at budgets and client plans during the months you are out. Make sure that each task within those plans has an owner.
Next up, meet with your teams to decide who’s taking over. Are you passing on duties to another team member? Are you bringing in an outside colleague to handle your tasks so others can focus on the job at hand? As my manager would say, it’s never too early to make those decisions. Babies do have a mind of their own. Make sure that you are updating these people on a regular basis of tasks that they will be responsible for while you're out.
Lastly, have your working task document prepped and ready so that at any moment you can hit send. I was lucky with my first that I knew he was coming and had plenty of time to prep and get that list off. Others have had to send in the heat of the moment… or even in the days following due to the surprise. Better yet, find a place on your company’s local server, Dropbox or in the cloud where the list can live, and colleagues are able to access it immediately upon hearing the news.
If you’re about to return, here are some helpful hints from Fit Pregnancy on how to manage that transition.
About Christy Olliff
Christy is an Account Director at T/K, based in Orlando, FL. She leads the agency’s health practice, but also focuses on lifestyle and consumer brands. She’s a mom, cheese lover, ex-fashion industry minion and avid Georgia Bulldog fan!