Returning to work after parental leave can be a challenging transition for most women (and men).
I feel I was fortunate to come back to a workplace that went above and beyond to make my return smooth and welcoming.
In this post, I'll share the five things my company did that truly stood out in making me feel included, supported, and valued during this big and daunting life transition.
Stay In Touch:
One of the key factors that made my return to work seamless was the consistent communication from my managers and team members. They would often send thoughtful texts to check in on how I was doing, both professionally and personally. This simple yet impactful gesture helped me feel connected to the team and assured me that I was valued even though I wasn't actively working in the team at that time.
Recognising the importance of face-to-face interactions, my colleagues and I made an effort to schedule in-person catch-ups, even if it meant a quick lunch during the workday. While this wasn't always easy as a mum with a new baby, having a purposeful outing on the calendar gave me a refreshing break and an opportunity to reconnect with my team members on a personal level.
Inclusive Social Gatherings:
I felt truly valued when I was consistently invited to company social gatherings that occurred during my maternity leave, such as end-of-quarter catch-ups and the annual Christmas party. This inclusion not only made me feel like an integral part of the team but also allowed me to maintain a sense of camaraderie even during my time away. It was also great for me that I could just pop in to one of the events and all my team could meet my new baby and have a cuddle with no pressure of having to be there at a certain time.
Supportive Phone Call from our MD:
A few weeks before my return, I received a thoughtful phone call from our Managing Director, Monique Richards. The purpose of the call was to reassure me that the company was there to support me during this transition and to alleviate any pressure I might be feeling about getting back into the swing of things. This gesture made a significant impact on my mindset and really made me feel supported and take all of the pressure off my shoulders that I had put there myself.
Transparent Communication about Company Changes:
Being kept in the loop about important company changes during my parental leave was crucial for my reintegration. I appreciated that my company didn't just inform me about day-to-day updates but also ensured I was aware of any significant changes that occurred while I was away. Being kept in the loop allowed me to mentally prepare for the adjustments and changes in the workplace, contributing to a smoother re-entry.
“Returning to work after maternity leave is a unique journey for each new parent, but a supportive workplace can make all the difference.”
Being a stay-at-home mum is one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs I have ever done. Often it was a sense of achievement just to hang up the washing so the thought of having to get back to work is not only daunting, but also sometimes feels impossible.
I'm grateful for the proactive steps my company took to make me feel included, valued, and supported during my parental leave during this critical time. Because of this, I feel I can take my time to ramp things up at the pace I can handle.
Lucky me being a part of an organisation like Aquent that really gets it.
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