Say goodbye to your colleague, and wish them well on parental leave. Taking the time to say that you will miss them while they are on leave and are looking forward to their return can make your colleague feel positive about their journey as a new parent and return to practice later on.
Steer clear of assuming your colleague is going away on a “holiday” while they are on leave! While parenthood is an exciting time, it will also be challenging for your colleague and full of responsibility. Don’t make assumptions about their time on leave, as this will vary greatly depending on each individual.
Drop your colleague a note every now and again asking how they are, if they would like to catch up or if they would like to attend a particular meeting, event or team activity. Reaching out to your colleague when they are on leave can let them know you are thinking about them and are looking forward to having them back at the office. A little can go a long way.
Coming back to work after being on parental leave can be daunting, and your colleague is likely to have questions about developments that occurred while they were on leave. Be proactive by offering to help out if you have time, or just communicate that you are available to answer any questions they might have if you are able to.
Remember that your colleague has been away from the office for an extended period and it might take them a while to relearn everything. Keep this in mind when working on files with your colleague, and be understanding with them especially at the start of their return.