Are you one of the many women returning to the workforce after time away? At Bloss, we understand that this can be a daunting process, especially if you decided to have a career break to start a family or raise your children. It can feel that life has radically changed and your wishes and expectations from your career and life on the job may be starkly different from before.
Rather than diving in and hoping for the best, take a look at our eight top tips to help you achieve a new work-life balance and get the support you need from your employer. With the right planning and preparation, women returning to the workforce, for whatever reason, can make the transition more smoothly.
1. Stay in touch
If you are returning to the same employer after time off, perhaps after maternity leave, it’s possible to bridge the transition by keeping a toe in throughout your leave. Engaging in Keeping in Touch (KIT) days is a great way to keep up to date on what is happening.
Staying in touch doesn’t mean doing work from home around your baby. However, KIT days can be used to talk to colleagues and managers about what’s happening so that you feel more confident when it is time to go back. It also helps you to maintain a network of professionals who can support you as you get back to the grind. KIT days can also be used for things such as training to ensure you are up to speed and on a par with colleagues when you return.
2. Know your worth!
Many companies understand that achieving a balanced workforce is essential to achieving success. This means that women are in high demand, especially when they have the skills needed to do the job but have taken a break from work to start a family or for another reason. Time and again, research shows that diversity is a good thing for employers.
Knowing your worth as a woman returning to work will mean that you can use this leverage to get the hours and pay you need to balance your life appropriately. So don’t be afraid to tell your employer what you need confidently and with assurance that the best employers will value your contribution.
3. Be prepared
No matter how skilled and knowledgeable you are, there is a big chance that your workplace will have changed during your time away. Rather than floundering, take some time to find out what is new and consider doing some refresher courses to help you get back up to speed so you can rejoin the workforce with confidence. This is particularly true for women reentering the workforce after an extended break, for example over the younger child-raising years.
4. Think about your hours
Many women worry about returning to work because they are not sure they can balance work and personal demands. If you are in a position where you can take a cut in wages, then it may be wise to think about reducing your hours.
Many employers will be happy to agree to a reduced work pattern to help you back into the workplace. Depending on your needs and business needs, these reductions can either be temporary or permanent. It may also be possible to make changes such as increased working from home or split shifts. Be open about a request for flexible working – employers are obliged to at least consider it.
5. Check the policies
While it’s unlikely that your employer has a ‘women returning to the workforce’ policy, there will be guidance laid out by your HR team to help you get the support you need. Here, policies such as maternity ones may be useful.
Take your time to read the policies and engage with the support on offer to help you ease back into the world of work. If you cannot find any specific advice or information, contact your HR department or line manager to ask for the necessary information.
6. Know your rights
We know that no one wants to start an argument with their employer, especially when they have been away from work for some time. However, before you head back to the office, you must take the time to know what your rights are and what legal obligations you have to your employer and vice versa.
Being up to speed on the legalities of your employment will help you feel more empowered and confident, making your return as easy as possible. For example, knowing that you have a right to request flexible working is encouraging.
7. Consider new jobs
If you find that your employer isn’t as supportive as you were hoping, or the possibility of reducing your hours has been refused, you may want to start thinking about new jobs before heading back to the office.
A vast number of specialist recruiters will offer you free career advice and can help source roles that may be better suited to your new circumstances. There are plenty of employers who offer what you need, so feel confident to move to find it.
8. Engage in coaching
Finally, coaching could be the ideal answer if you are worried about returning to work after time off and need some help to work out the logistics and develop your confidence. Work or life coaches are employed to support individuals as they navigate new processes or when they need support to find their way.
Many great coaches specialise in supporting women returning to work, giving you the tools you need to make this next phase a success. Return to Work coaching could be what you need.
Let Bloss support your journey
If you are keen to get specific advice and support and want to connect with people with the knowledge you need, Bloss can help! We connect individuals with experts in parenting, ensuring you get appropriate support at every stage of your journey and that includes women returning to the workforce.
Simply check out our topics and share your question before connecting with the expert who can help – the information you can access is invaluable and will leave you feeling ready to move forward.