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Returning To Work Following Maternity Leave

August 10, 2020

Written by Helen Page – Account Director, Hart Training and Recruitment

First of all, if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve recently had a baby so congratulations on the new addition! Hopefully you’ve now adjusted to life with the newest member of the family and I’m sure each day brings a different yet rewarding challenge.

When I went on maternity leave in April 2019 to have my son Jesse, I never would have imagined a global pandemic would have resulted in an extended leave from work. I was due to return when lockdown was at its peak so my role, along with millions of others across the country, was furloughed meaning I would be away from work for longer than originally anticipated.

As I am sure most people have found, it’s certainly been a rollercoaster of emotions over the last few months.  However, my extended leave has resulted in feeling extremely grateful to be able to spend extra precious time with Jesse, watching him develop and turn into an outgoing toddler.

Now that I’ve returned back to Hart, I wanted to share some tips that helped me to prepare for my return and I hope they will help you too.

Regular reviews with your line manager and team

Keeping in touch via Zoom calls have been a huge help. It’s been great to see the team and keep up to date on the current and latest developments in the world of recruitment. We would catch up every Monday afternoon and it really helped to get my brain geared towards work mode again. If you’ve been unable to do this yet, why not suggest a video catch up with your manager and/or your team?

Training courses

Does your company offer any online courses? Or interactive online learning solutions via platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams? I have completed a variety of training courses from home. Many of the sessions were pre-recorded which meant I could access them at any time, enabling me to fit them around an active toddler. Speak to your Manager or HR department to see what resources are available to you.

We are offering a range of online courses to support through this time of change – click here for more information:

Childcare options

Feeling happy with your childcare will be the most important consideration before being able to return to work. Nurseries are doing a great job of ensuring children are safe and well looked after, especially whilst we are all transitioning to a new type of normal. You will feel more relaxed about returning to work if you’re happy with your childcare. In my situation, I was feeling nervous about Jesse attending nursery however his first couple of days have gone really well and I know being around other children will really help his social skills and his independence as he grows.

Flexible working

Under the current guidelines, you may need more flexibility. Working from home has suddenly become the norm for so many roles, ours included at Hart and it’s amazing what you can achieve without being physically in the office. This could perhaps work well for you in your role? Or perhaps your hours could be adjusted? Maybe a phased return would help to ease you back in? These are all conversations you could have with your line manager whilst planning your return.

Setting objectives

Setting objectives with your line manager, both short term and long-term goals, would really help you to re-focus upon your return. I love to have a target to work towards and this helps me to get my mind set on what I want to achieve. This was one of the first tasks I completed with my Managing Director Phillippa on my first day back in the office.

Don’t beat yourself up

Returning to work can be an emotional time. The excitement of seeing your work colleagues again and having time to be ‘you’ again are just some of the positives. However, it can also be hard leaving your little one and finding a new routine to fit to. Returning to work will bring changes and it’s OK for this to take time to settle back into your new normal. Don’t expect to nail everything in your first month back.

You’re not on your own

Following lockdown, it may help to know that many people are going to feel in a similar position to you, after spending a few months furloughed. You can take comfort that others will be feeling that uncertainty and you’re all moving through this strange time together. From a maternity point of view, it may also help to chat to friends about their experiences of returning to work and what helped them.

Career change?

Finally, perhaps this time has given you space to think about a career change. Maybe there’s something you’ve always wanted to try? Or perhaps the change in your life circumstances means you’re looking to do a different role to fit around your family life better.  If you would like a confidential, informal conversation please call me or one of my fellow recruitment experts at Hart on 0121 360 6000.

Please follow us on our social media to stay up to date with our tips, advice, and opportunities we currently have available. If you need any support and advice, we are here to help even if it is just for a chat, please call us on 0121 360 6000.  

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