If you're on maternity leave and thinking about returning to work, here are a few tips to help make a smoother transition back to the workplace.
Are you ready to go back to work
1. If you want to return to work flexibly, you do have the right to request this. If you already have children, and they are under school age you can still request flexible working in order for you to care for your children. If your company refuses your request, they must provide you with reasons for the refusal (based on reasonable business grounds). For details on eligibility and your rights go to: Fair Work Australia
2.Flexible working options donít just mean part time or reduced hours. Have you considered job share, working from home, condensed hours, 9-day fortnights or what about term time only working? Consider what will give you and your family a work life balance and donít be afraid to ask for it.
Is it time to swap high chairs for high heels Photo: Desira - Wikimedia Commons
3.Keep communicating with your employer/manager. I had a lovely manager when I was on maternity leave, so communicating with my manager was something I would have wanted to do anyway. However, keeping in touch with your employer does help you feel connected. Itís each to their own, but knowing what was happening in my work place did help me remember what I would be returning to.
4.Most companies offer return to work/keeping in touch days. I went in to work for 3 half days prior to going back properly, and this did help ease me back into work. Not only did it re-familiarise me with the working environment, but it also got my brain re-engaged and meant that I didnít spend my official first day back sorting out my various computer logons and in my case re-booting my laptop for the hundredth time. My relationship with all things technological did not improve with my time away!
5.Get your child established and settled in day care or with whatever care arrangements you've organised prior to your own return to work. I got my child settled in day care three weeks prior to my own return to work. This was important for me to do, so that I would know that my son was comfortable in day care and so that I wouldnít spend my time at work unduly worrying about him. If you do have time to do this prior to starting work, I would really recommend this.
Ready to leave the playground
6. Finally, if you are breast feeding and plan on continuing this whilst you are at work, this can be achieved easily but does need some planning to really be successful. If you're not already expressing milk, consider starting before you head back to the office. Once you know how much you'll need to express whilst at work, consider where at work you'll be able to express milk privately. Open plan offices whilst great in their design for team building, were definitely not designed with a breast feeding mumma in mind. To this end, when planning your return to work with your manager, explain that you need a private room (at certain times of the day) for your expressing needs.
What stories do you have regarding your return to work? Do you have any top tips to share with our readers?