It can often be a daunting prospect going back to work after months of sleepless nights, baby talk, days out in the park and living in your PJ’s.
Did you know that 65% of women do not go back to their employer due to the companies inability to be flexible,
44% of women don’t return to work at all
21% return to a completely new and more flexible employer.
These stats raise the question – “are employers doing enough to accommodate their employees changing needs and circumstances?”
There are many things that an employer can do to help ease you back in gently…..
Some employers are flying the flag for returning to work and even offer specially developed programmes to ease new parents back into work life.
Here are a few ideas on how you can stay ‘in touch’ and engaged with your employer while you’re away.
Catch up calls
Buddy up with a colleague and have a monthly catch-up call. You can stay in the loop and be involved in decisions (if you want to!) whilst on maternity leave.
(Obviously, this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Some parents want to 100% switch off from work when they’re on maternity leave, which is totally fair enough. It’s all down to personal preference.)
Keep in touch days
You can work up to 10 keep in touch days whilst you are on Maternity leave and these are a great way of dipping your toe back into the business to go on up to date courses or learn what has changed before you come back.
Following an initial catch-up session, ‘phase’ back into the workplace on your return after maternity leave e.g. be ‘in’ but not ‘on’. This helps new parents to re-acclimatise to the world of work.
Flexible start and finish times, remote working, part time, full time condensed hours, term-time only and job shares are just some of the options available. If your employer doesn’t offer flexible working, make the case for it!
Shared paternity leave
Consider shared paternity leave as an option, meaning each parent spends less time out of the workplace but your baby has that quality time with both of you.
Having a baby is an emotional time and will change your life forever, so it’s very difficult to plan ahead. You just don’t know how you will feel tomorrow, let alone six months or 12 months down the line. You may not want to go back and be fortunate enough not to have to, or you may want to return on a flexible working pattern. Or perhaps, you want to carry on just as before. Everyone is different.
Maybe you are thinking of a change in career direction. If this is the case it may be worth speaking to a recruitment consultant about your skills and experience and what direction you are looking to go down.
Whatever route you choose to go down, there are always options available. If your employer is not parent-friendly and flexible, encourage them to be!