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Taking Maternity or Adoption Leave as a Small Business Owner

Mother working on maternity leave at home and her baby

As the patter of teeny tiny feet in the distance looms closer, things can start to feel a little scary. For the expectant entrepreneur with a business also requiring plenty of attention, it can be a busy time indeed. When you’re the one running the show it’s a lot harder to hand things over, especially if there’s nobody to pass things on to!

Here’s a few tips for getting through.

Hire the help of a trained accountant

When you’re changing nappies and trying to get some shut-eye, the last you need to be worrying about is crunching numbers. Recruit the services or a trained professional, and relax in the knowledge that bookkeeping is up to date, and deadlines are being met.

What else can you outsource?

Take a lot at your business and see what else you might be able to outsource. Freelancers or contractors could help for short term projects or on a regular rolling contract, without the considerations of taking on staff to cover your absence.

Streamline processes

Hopefully there will be at least a few months’ notice before maternity leave starts. Try to use some of this time evaluating current processes against what you have learnt. It might reveal areas which can be slimmed down or streamlined. It will help relieve some of the pressure once the new arrival gets there, and will also be a long term business benefit.

Have one-to-one meetings with staff

If you employ any staff, catch up with them on a one-to-one basis before you head off. It will let them know what is going on, and give them an opportunity to talk.

Have a team meeting too!

As a continuation of this, if you have more than one employee try to meet as a team, too. Hopefully you will have opportunity to be in touch during your leave, but getting one last meeting in with everyone together makes sure that everyone knows what the plan is. It can help to avoid any he-said-she-said moments later on.

If you’re more like a medium-sized business with a growing workforce, meeting with every single employee might be a tad unrealistic. In this case, find time to sit down with senior members of staff and managers to ensure team infrastructures are clear and in place.

Set up an electronic project management system

If you already know you’re going to struggle to stay away from your carefully nurtured enterprise, there are plenty of remote management tools available.

Slack, Basecamp and Trello all allow you to remain privy to what’s going on, without having to be physically present or even actively involved. This little bit of oversight might be all you need for a while.

Don’t return to work too soon

If you return to work when you’re not physically or mentally ready to hit the ground running, both your business and child will suffer. Take time to rest, rejuvenate and relish those precious moments.

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