This is not a post about female empowerment or the benefits of having benefits. I’m talking about the benefits to a supervisor when a staff member announces they will be going on maternity leave.
You read that correctly. I’ve come to realize there are huge benefits to staff taking planned leave for six weeks or more. Especially if they play a vital role to your office structure and love their job.
Okay, I know you’re thinking I’ve officially lost my mind.
Here’s the thing. My assistant director is preparing for her upcoming leave. In all honesty, she’s my right hand (and half my brain), so how could I possibly feel this way? Think about it. Planning. Organizing. Catching up! After all, she’s known for over eight months this day was coming. Rather than sit back and count down the weeks, she took full advantage of planning for her maternity leave by creating the most amazing documentation of her key responsibilities. I’m talking about things only she knows she does. And now, we have pages and pages of step-by-step, up-to-date, detailed documentation on how to do all of it. Everything!
If I had anxiety about her being away for eight weeks, it ebbed substantially after sitting down with her to review her maternity leave plan—specifically, the tasks I’ll be responsible for in her absence. She created a series of linked documents in Google Drive, so everyone on our team has access.
I always knew my assistant director was detail oriented, but wow. I mean, WOW! This process was a great learning experience for everyone in the office. She summarized her main responsibilities and was able to review her processes to ensure accuracy. Everyone taking over parts of her job for the upcoming months now knows exactly what to do and when and how to do it. Plus, I got to see how much she truly cares about her work and responsibilities. We all feel comfortable with her leaving because she’s prepared us so well. We all have good intentions of creating documentation, but sometimes we need a kick (from the inside or out) to get us going.