As my maternity leave nears its end, the return to work preparations have commenced.
It’s crazy to think I’ve been off for 7 months! The days and weeks have flown by incredibly quickly – it certainly doesn’t feel like over half a year of absence.
Eventually however, it becomes time to broach the topic of your return with your boss or manager.
It’s worth being prepared for a catch-up with them, so that you can set solid foundations for coming back to work, rejoining your old team and easing back into the projects you left.
Depending on your total maternity leave length, arrange to chat with your boss a couple of weeks or a month before your set return date. Either pop by the office and visit all your colleagues, or meet them for coffee outside the office (and avoid being potentially bombarded by everyone).
Here are the important matters you mustn’t forget to discuss with them! Take note of these, and be ready to bring them up if they apply to you.
What major changes have occurred while you’ve been away?
In general, what company/business changes have taken place? Have there been business reorganisations, changes in leadership, significant shifts in project goals or team/department priorities?
What’s new with your team?
Similar to the previous question, but more specifically about the people you directly worked with. Are there new team members you can expect to meet when you’re back? Have you lost anyone while away? Is the team’s function or objectives still the same?
What are your top priorities for when you return?
Knowing in advance what you’ll be focussing on when you’re back at work is beneficial because in the lead-up to the return date you can start to mentally prepare yourself for what’s to come. You’ll be better equipped to hit the ground running!
What pumping arrangements can be organised?
If you’re still breastfeeding your baby and you want to pump while at work, don’t be afraid of letting your manager know! While this didn’t apply to me, I’ve heard from others that your workplace should help ensure you have a private space to do so – such as mothers’ rooms/facilities. You won’t know what’s available until you ask, so be sure to bring it up.
Are you able to arrange flexible work conditions?
This is an important one! Perhaps you can start off part-time before easing back to full-time work. Or maybe you can work from home on some days. Or possibly have more flexible start/leave times in the office. Even if the answer to your requests are “no”, it’s worth asking anyway! Chances are you’ll be able to come to an agreement that will benefit both of you.
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Good planning and communication with your boss is essential to setting up a strong basis for your return to work after maternity leave. Having the initiative to bring up these important topics is a good look on your part as well.
So even if work is the last thing on your mind right now…pencil in a catch-up with your boss into your diary, and be ready to cover these questions.
What experiences have you had with arranging your return to work with your boss? Any tips? Comment below!