Top tips for parents returning to work

Leaders Plus has some advice for those returning from parental leave. Returning from maternity, or any kind of parental leave, can be daunting – but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience.

Coffee, an iPhone and a small blackboard saying 'back to work'


Leaders Plus, a social enterprise focused on aiding career progression after parental leave, has put together some tips for those returning to work after maternity or parental leave.

1. Thinking Time:  With a young family it can be difficult to find the time and headspace to think about your career, but doing so means you will have more clarity about what you want and need when you return to work.  Allow yourself some dedicated time, even if just 10 minutes a week, and protect that time. 

2. Set Your Vision:  Having a ‘North Star’ helps you to understand the foundations you need to put in place now and will guide the conversations you have with your manager when you return. If you can, be open with your manager about where you want to be in 2/5/10 years’ time and they might also have some ideas on how to get you there!

3. Mindset:  When you’re in the thick of change it can feel incredibly daunting. We tend to focus on the day-to-day logistics of returning to work with a young family, which is important but means that, sometimes, the bigger picture gets lost.  Try to change the way you look at the challenge – the first two points will help with this. 

4. Set Boundaries:  Once you know what you want from your career and family life it will be easier to know what your non-negotiables are for both work and family life. Sticking to boundaries can be tricky, but if you start small and practice, then you’ll soon find it gets easier. Check out Leaders Plus’ Setting Boundaries Workbook for practical help with this. 

5. Promote Yourself:  The period immediately after maternity leave can be tough with many reporting a dip in confidence and a rise in imposter syndrome – not helped by lack of sleep! However, you are your biggest advocate. Where you feel you can, step outside your comfort zone and put your hand up for that project or to run a meeting if it serves your purpose.
And don’t shy away from shining a spotlight on the work you’ve delivered and the results you’ve achieved. Doing so, in an appropriate way, will not only boost your own confidence but will remind others of how valuable you are to the team!

Ultimately, a successful return to work following parental leave will look different for everyone, but it helps to feel prepared.

*Leaders Plus is holding a free event for maternity leave returners on 29th January 1-2pm, titled  Help! How do I Successfully Return from Maternity Leave?. To sign up click on the link.

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