I got a question from a reader last week about how to prepare for his boss's return to work from maternity leave. I answered here with some help from my little guy, Linc.
For the team welcoming someone back into the office after any extended absence: let them set the pace. Ask when when and how they get briefed on what's happened while they were out and then honor those wishes the best you can. By the middle of the second week, the person transitioning back into work should largely have their routine down and start feeling somewhat "normal."
Answering this question, though made me think about the flip side-- what if you're the one coming back?
My take is this. When coming back from maternity leave, your first two words in the office should be, "thank you." And you should mean it.
Some (thankfully few) returning moms come back with the completely wrong attitude. If you expect to be an exception to the rule now that you have a family at home, think again. Of course, no one would say this out loud. However, thinking you're owed something because you're a mom now becomes obvious when your problems suddenly become everyone else's to solve. Spreading this unique brand of entitlement around the office only fuels frustration and resentment on your teams. And if you're the boss? Woah, it's just worse. Avoid the heartache and hassle with a little appreciation for everything that was accomplished in their absence.