Maternity Leave: Can You Maintain A Connection To Work?
You’ve worked hard to develop your career, and you’re proud of what you’ve achieved. Now you’re pregnant, you’re feeling anxious. You’ve spent years establishing yourself, what happens when you step away? Will you be able to come back? What if the industry changes while you’re away?
While you’re lucky that brave, dedicated warriors have paved the way for you, fighting for gender equality in the workplace, your anxiety is real. The feeling of loss as you let go of your career is real. There are so many unknowns for you, and you’re used to having the answers up front. Rest assured, while you’ll be spending most of your time with your little bundle of joy, there are some simple and practical steps you can take that will help you to maintain a connection with your workplace and your industry while you’re away.
Follow the industry news
While you will want to spend a lot of time with your baby, photographing their antics and sharing with your family and friends, babies will sleep a lot too. Occasionally when your baby is asleep, you could take a moment to check your organisations website and social media, keep up to date with announcements and news. Subscribe to your industry groups on LinkedIn and engage occasionally with what’s happening more broadly. Once a week or every 10 days, checking in will help you keep engaged and up to speed on any changes. When you do talk with colleagues, it will make it easier if you’re already aware of some of the news.
Check in with team
Take the opportunity to check in with the team when it makes sense, being mindful that you don’t want to overwhelm yourself either. Checking in on the latest development and issues they are facing will help you feel engaged. Offering advice and suggestions where you can, will also help boost your confidence and give you a break from focusing on your baby all the time. It will also remind your team you’re still here and thinking of them.
Once your baby is a little bigger, it is lovely to take them into the workplace to introduce them. Ensure you check that it’s OK with your company and schedule 30 minutes at a time that is not too distracting for your colleagues.
Keep in Touch Days (KIT days)
KIT days can be effective methods for ensuring that you stay up-to-date with what is happening at the workplace and may include: attending training sessions to update your skills; attending conferences; or spending time in the office every now and again to attend to various matters.
The benefits of these days can be great. They can ease the transition from maternity leave back to the office and give you a sense of confidence that you can still complete your work duties. They can give you flexibility and can be customised to your own needs and capabilities.
Your team should be your starting point when you are ready to reconnect with your workplace, especially those who have already returned from maternity leave. Those with children are likely to be more patient, understanding and willing to dispense constructive advice.
Once you’re on maternity leave, you may also realise that you would like to use this special time away from work to devote yourself to your newborn baby instead of trying to balance baby and work, and this is also ok. Just ensure you remain in communication with your manager and express your expectations clearly, even if they do change.
Transition & Leadership Coach
The Leap To Lead
Transition & Leadership Coach (theleaptolead.com)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily Rogers is an award winning Transition and Leadership coach. Having lived abroad for over 20 years, her family has spent 12 years moving around Asia, relocating to Auckland, New Zealand at the end of 2019. Both her daughters were born in India, and raising a family in a foreign context has literally transformed their lives.
Emily has experienced first hand what it feels like to move your family and settle into a new country. Dealing with the variety of challenges that living abroad presents, she has developed systems and processes that allow her to settle her family faster and easier. She now uses these systems and processes to support her clients.
Published by The Employee Mobility Institute – March 2023