When an employee goes on maternity leave, it can cause chaos around the office, as other employees have to pick up the extra workload. Businesses can help offset some of this extra work by hiring temporary help, delegating tasks amongst employees, contracting a virtual assistant, allowing flexible working hours and schedules, and offering telecommuting options for mothers on maternity leave who feel comfortable returning to work part-time.
Hire Temporary Help
One of the first steps businesses can take to relieve the extra workload is to hire temporary help. Temp agencies are a great place to start looking for talent. Temporary help can usually be found rather quickly, with new hires able to start working in just a few days.
Although this may require paying additional wages and placement fees, the reduced stress for management and employees may be well worth the added expense.
Delegate Their Workload
If current employees are able to handle the additional workload once a team member takes maternity leave, tasks can be delegated evenly amongst the group. Management should consider each employee's current workload before assigning additional duties, as doing so may cause added stress and a decrease in productivity. Management can ask for volunteers to take on additional responsibilities, and offer monetary rewards and other bonuses for those who are able to help out.
Contract a Virtual Assistant
If bringing in temporary help while an employee is on maternity leave is not an option, companies can hire a virtual assistant to help relieve the additional workload. Most virtual assistants can be brought in on a contract basis and can be found through sites like oDesk, Elance, and Fancy Hands.
One advantage of hiring virtual help is having the ability to tap into a global market. If the company is on a tight budget, help can be found outside of the United States for a fraction of the cost.
If asking current employees to take on additional responsibilities while an employee is on maternity leave is the businesses only option, it's a good idea to be flexible with the work schedule and hours. Asking employees to take on too much work can cause unneeded stress, frustration, and a lack of motivation. If the additional work adds hours to their schedule, make sure you allow for breaks, time off, and flexible work time.
Offer a Part-Time Telecommuting Option
If the mother out on maternity leave feels comfortable coming back to work on a part-time basis, telecommuting could be a great option. This allows the mother to spend time at home with the newborn while helping out with responsibilities at the office.
It's a good idea to make sure additional maternity leave is not needed before offering such an option. Employers are required to follow maternity leave and parental leave laws, so make sure they feel comfortable returning to work before offering such an option.
Maternity leave can be stressful for both the mother and the business. It's important to work together to come up with a plan that works for all parties involved. Hiring additional help, contracting a virtual assistant, and offering a telecommuting option are all great ways to increase productivity and reduce stress amongst the team members.
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