Planning Tips for Extended Leave

Let’s assume that you’ve completed all the appropriate paperwork and have received approval to take an extended leave of absence from your job due to medical situations, military service, or other leave options as available through UMD/USM.  What are some next steps you can take to ensure a smooth transition before, during, and after your departure?

Begin by creating a list of your projects and important day-to-day tasks with suggestions on how they could be managed while you are away.

  • Do you have peers on your team who may be able to take them on while you are out?
  • Are there some tasks that will be best handled by your supervisor(s) due to confidentiality or other issues?
  • Do you have direct reports who may gain professional development experience by managing one or two projects in your absence?

The next step is for you to discuss preparations with your supervisor. Take the initiative to set up a meeting and go in with your suggested plan to start the conversation. Your supervisor may have a different vision of how things will be managed or perhaps hasn’t even thought about it yet. Either way, going in with your ideas already sketched out will move the process along and show your commitment to the success of the office while you are away. You may want to set up bi-weekly, and then weekly meetings, as the time draws nearer, to ensure that you are on the same page and the plan is clear and well thought-out.

As the plan begins to solidify, set up bi-weekly or weekly one-on-one meetings with your colleagues who are directly involved. This offers them the opportunity to discuss any concerns they may have about the additional tasks or projects. You may also learn more about their professional interests. Perhaps there is a project or task they would like to manage in your absence that you had not considered. Remain open to changing your plan if someone expresses an interest in a specific project or task or if there are additional circumstance that you had not considered as to why it may not work out.

Now that the management of your responsibilities has been determined, you or your supervisor can share the plan with your internal and external contacts. You may want to set up brief meetings to make introductions or send out an email with your departure and return dates, plans for transitioning responsibilities before you are away, and appropriate contact information during your absence

There are a few other processes and plans you may want to set up before you go.

  • Is it acceptable for your team members or other contacts to reach out to you while you are away? If so, establish guidelines as to when and how best to contact you. You may decide that it will be easiest for you if one team member or your supervisor is the
  • primary contact for phone calls with urgent matters and all others can reach you via email.
  • Will you need a transition period to come back to your role full-time? Perhaps, if you are on medical leave, you will need to work part-time for a couple of weeks before you can return to your regular schedule.  Include those needs in your planning and communication.
  • Will there be a transition of responsibilities when you return? Your approved leave may end right before or during a major project that needs to be delivered or completed. It may be best if the colleague who has been overseeing the project carries it through to the end, and you step back in to it at a more appropriate time
    .

Last updated: September 8, 2017

Last updated: September 8, 2017