It’s probably been well over a year since you took maternity leave from your job to take care of your baby. Many women choose to work up until the halfway point of their pregnancy before they take leave. You may also wish to take off a year to give your baby the best care and start in life, so early on. This could mean that you’ve been out of work for a year and a half, possibly two. Going back to work can be incredibly daunting because the world of business moves so fast, you feel like you no longer possess the best skills to perform well in your role. You need to accept that you will be behind, whether it’s slightly or by a big margin, is dependent on your industry and company. But don’t worry, there’s a right away to go about this.
Coming back part-time
Consider how to transition back into the professional workplace. Regardless of whether or not you need the training to use new software or become familiar with the new procedures in place, you have to take one step at a time. Limit your working hours to just part-time. Work out a schedule with your superior of when you should come in and what kind of things you will be doing. Be wary of overloading yourself. You have to get your mind into the swing of things, gradually. Inherently, this means you will need to limit yourself to just a few tasks a day.
A full 8-hours of work may be the only option but work with your boss to design your workload. Simple tasks that don’t require a lot of complex actions are the best foot forward. You will be getting into the hang of things regarding time away from your child and becoming familiar again with the office and everyone in it. You will need to rekindle friendships and catch up with your colleagues who haven’t seen or possibly spoken to you for a long time. The social dynamic of the office is something you will need to get comfortable with but take your time.
Use your experiences
Everyone uses their life experiences in their professional life. The top negotiators always utilise their experiences to give themselves a heads-up of what might be coming down the pike. They have been through many different scenarios in their life, whether it’s with the bank, a loan company, buying a house or trying to sell a car. They will store these things in their knowledge library so when it comes to a real-life negotiation matter, they will be able to read the opposition a little better. You can do the same after your maternity leave is over. Babies cannot speak, they can only give off energy through noises and facial expressions
As a parent, you will be able to understand the needs of your child even without exchanging words. You have emotional intelligence which you can use at work. Take a look to see if you have gained these vital skills. Give colleagues advice on how to positively resolve issues between each other. Your social skills will be far more adept since you can understand people’s frustrations and see challenges from their perspective.
Be honest with your boss
It’s in your best interest to speak honestly with your boss about how you’re feeling. It might not be the best idea to do this on the first day back as it can seem like you’re setting the tone in your favour. After a couple of days when you’ve allowed the working environment to sink in, then ask for a meeting with your boss. Explain the new realities of your life, as you have obligations to take care of your child as well as work. If you’re ever needed by the babysitter and or daycare service, you have every right to leave work immediately and tend to your child. You also must acknowledge that you will, therefore, need to be put into a role that is more suitable to your flexible lifestyle.
You have to do what is best for you… a leadership role may be out of the question, for the time being. Business owners are under a lot of pressure and they cannot have leaders be unreliable, even if it’s for a good reason. Therefore, ask for a role that is similar to your previous role but with the additional changes.
Having a child is a big step in your life, but don’t forget that the world will not stop. Your professional life is something you’ll need to slowly become familiar with again. Take small steps and be honest about how much you can do.