Top Tips for Returning to Work after Maternity Leave

By Shameem Allen, Marketing Executive at KFS Recruitment

Returning to work after maternity leave can be a daunting experience. Whether it’s your first baby and you are now trying to balance your dual identity of mother and working woman. Or you may have done it all before. Whatever your situation it doesn’t make it easier. Even if your job remains the same, other things have probably changed quite a lot while you were away. That combined with new childcare arrangements, extra commitments, and a different schedule – it can quickly become overwhelming.

Having a baby is a huge challenge for working mothers. A break in your career and a shift in your priorities can have an enormous effect on your confidence when faced with going back into the workplace.

So to help you with you this transition we have gathered together some top tips to help make your return to work a smooth one.

Keep in Touch with your Employer

Have a discussion with your employer before your go back. You are entitled to 10 KIT (keep in touch) days while on maternity leave so use this time to catch up with your manager. They can let you know if anything has changed and get you up to speed with everything that has taken place while you were away. Keeping yourself visible while you’re away can help you to feel relevant and still part of the team. Ask your employer if they can send you updates about what’s going on in your department or office while you’re gone — just an email or text message so you don’t have to look at them until you are ready. It would be most helpful for them to do this toward the end of your maternity leave – at least then you know that the information is still relevant, and you can start allowing some headspace for work. It can also prepare you for any workplace challenges that may have arisen.

Keep Networking

If you have built a strong career path you may be scared that taking a break will hinder your growth. One way to mitigate this is by networking and keeping up with the industry while you are away. With the advancement in virtual meetings and social sites such as LinkedIn, this may be totally feasible – as long as you are feeling well enough to do so.

Keeping one foot in the door may help you with your handover and shows a true commitment to your career beyond maternity leave. Having a return-to-work plan can help – discuss this with your boss before you leave and agree on some objectives this may help you with any feelings of disconnect.

But of course, do not feel pressured into doing any of these things. Your career can and will take off again post-baby. Your well-being along with your new baby is the top priority.

Discuss Flexible Options

Talk to your employer about a flexible schedule. You might like to work from home one or two days a week. Or come back on a phased return. There are many flexible options available so do some research and make sure you are aware of your rights. Flexible working doesn’t have to mean part-time; you could work compressed hours or shift the times you work to earlier or later. Think about the best plan for you and your family.

Take Care of Yourself

In the weeks leading up to your return to work try to ease into a self-care schedule if you don’t already have one. Aim to be kind to yourself and take some time each day just for you – continue this when you return to work. I know what you are thinking ‘how am I supposed to fit that in?’ But it should be one of your priorities and it doesn’t have to be much.

It could be establishing a calming bedtime winddown routine or reading a chapter of a book on the train home – whatever works for you. Caring for children and working can sometimes feel like you are having to spread yourself too thin so remember to check in with how you are feeling and take care of your needs too.

Adopt a Positive Mindset

It can be so easy to feel guilty about going back to work after having a baby. Some mothers are even too scared to admit that they are actually looking forward to it. Yet it shouldn’t be anything to be ashamed of. You have a lot to offer the world and sometimes it’s easy to forget how rewarding it can be to restart your job role. There are many positives to going back into the world of work including adult interaction, the satisfaction of completing important tasks and reminding yourself that there is another side of you that is more than just a mother.

Going back to work can be a very hard and emotional experience but if going back aligns with your personal career goals then it is all worth it.