Overcoming Challenges Associated With Leaving and Re-entering the Workforce
There comes a time in many women’s lives when they decide to swap their paid full-time positions in favour of the more demanding and full-time roles of becoming mothers.
The days leading up to your maternity leave can be daunting for all. Will your replacement exceed your boss’s expectations? Will your leave make you more vulnerable to redundancy, or affect your chances of promotion? And, how will it affect that mark you fought so hard to make in the boardroom?
A recent study found that 50% of career-minded women felt concerned that their colleagues question their commitment to the company as a result of their leave – a sad reality to the preconceptions set in place to why women are unable to advance as high as their male counterparts.
But, you have succeeded in the workplace hierarchy and you have worked hard to get to top. So, how do you ensure your executive authority is maintained throughout the duration of your leave? Well, here a few tips on how to ensure your bump doesn’t push you out of the boardroom.
What To Do Before You Leave
Wait For The Right Time To Tell Your Boss
You are entitled to the 52 weeks of statutory maternity leave in the UK, so don’t feel the need to rush in telling your boss. You have the right to privacy regarding the matter, and once it’s common knowledge, you may find that those dreaded preconceptions may set in throughout the boardroom much sooner than you’d hoped. Some women often find that telling the news early on in the workplace can result in feeling laid off from boardroom tasks, such as leading an important project or meeting.
Avoid Being Open About Pregnancy Related Illnesses
It is not impossible for you to continue with work throughout your pregnancy, so long as it remains healthy for both you and the baby. However, as symptoms such as morning sickness can strike at anytime throughout the day, try to find ways of keeping your ill-feelings at bay. Avoid anything that may trigger feelings of nausea, and drink plenty of water. This way, you won’t appear vulnerable in your ability to continue on with your job.
What To Do While You’re On Maternity Leave
Keep In Touch
In order to stay on top, it may be a good idea to keep in regular contact with your colleagues. Send regular emails to your co-workers and those individuals you’re responsible for, asking for frequent updates of tasks being completed, news within the office and any changes that may have set in whilst you’ve been away. These simple tasks will help to remain in the loop, as well as put you in good stead for your return.
Make Your Days Off Work To Your Advantage
Once you have had time to readjust, you could consider freelancing from home. Replying to emails, speaking to clients and emailing your workforce, can all be done from the comfort of your own home. The Government also entitles you to 10 paid ‘Keeping in Touch’ (KIT) days to return and work from the office. Utilise these along with your freelance work, and you can keep the cards firmly stacked in your favour.
What To Do On Your Return
Take Control of Your First Day
In the weeks running up to your return, brush up on everything that’s been altered since you’ve been away. From door codes and computer codes, to any office and HR changes, by staying informed, you’re bound to feel like you’ve never even left.
Enter the boardroom with assertiveness and speak about how much you’ve been looking forward to getting back to work. Try to keep away from baby talk and mentioning how much you’re missing your newborn. Your colleagues will certainly be impressed with how much you are throwing yourself back into working life, and it’ll really emphasise how committed you are.
Think About New Beginnings
If like many, motherhood has made you decide to start afresh and take on the challenges of a new boardroom completely, there are several ways you can search for a workplace that’s right for you.
Searching by location on local jobs boards, for example ‘finding executive jobs in London’, allows you to find a useful list of available jobs within your area, which can be refined by keyword and position-type.
Starting at a new company after your break will not only be a new and exciting challenge for you, but will help to abolish those apprehensions of returning back to a workforce where certain preconceptions of your leave, may be present.
This article was written by Ella Mason, an experienced careers writer. Ella specialises in providing jobs advice for individuals.