Returning to work after maternity leave?
Sarah Jones, Acorn's Head of Marketing, has suggested six top tips for a stress free return*.
Everyone will agree that having to return to work after nine months or more is a daunting experience. In fact, as the weeks, even months, approach the end of your maternity leave, it generally feels like your time as a parent is over, and someone is going to turn up and take your baby away; I’ve been back at work for months now, and no-one has arrived to take him yet!
Don't waste your last few months of maternity leave worrying about the inevitable. Here's a few tips to make your return to work as seamless as possible:
- Use your 'keep in touch' days during your maternity leave
Employers offer up to ten paid work days during your leave, which are a great way to stay in touch with colleagues and keep up-to-date with latest products and services your company has launched since you left. They're also a very useful reminder that you still have the ability to do your job.
- HR support
Meet with your Manager and HR Department to discuss your return dates. Remember you will have accrued holiday whilst you’ve been off and this can be used to either extend your leave, or phase your return.
- Plan ahead
Whatever your childcare options are; family, friends, child-minder or nursery, do your research as early as possible, particularly if you're going for the latter options. So many people told me to book my nursery place before I'd even given birth but, of course that was the last thing on my mind. I am however, advising everyone to do the same. Nursery places are like gold dust - do your research early, decide which nursery you're most happy with, and book your place.
- Settling in
If you do choose a nursery or childminder as your childcare option, they'll offer you settling in sessions which are great for you and your baby to get used to their new surroundings. These sessions are for your benefit, so always ask for more if you feel you, or your baby need them.
- Build your confidence
Your employer will be very excited to have you back; you've still got the company knowledge you left with, but now you have a fresh pair of eyes (albeit a little tired). You now have to believe in yourself! Knowledge is key to developing your confidence, so spend some time reading the latest news on your employer's website, flicking through the industry magazines to see what people are talking about, and why not go for a coffee to catch up with your Manager.
- Stop feeling guilty
If you spend your time in work feeling guilty about your children, and spend your time at home worrying about what you need to do in work, absolutely no-one will benefit, and least of all you. Set your work / life balance and try to stick to it as much as you can.
Enjoy this new chapter and good luck from everyone at Acorn.