How to survive the return to work

by Elise Stevens | Futureproof Your Career Podcast

Becoming a parent is a monumental change in anyone’s life and returning to work can be daunting.

Some people are desperate to get back to the office, while others are apprehensive, feel guilty or simply lack confidence.

In this podcast, Elise Stevens speaks with maternity leave consultant Anna Wilk about how employees and employers can make the return-to-work transition as positive as possible.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • Becoming a parent is a significant change for both men and women.
  • Parents should plan their return to work carefully, being mindful that simple things like a new wardrobe will need consideration, as well as big things like boundaries and work hours.
  • Parents can start planning some aspects of their return to work before they even go on parental leave – even if the plan is likely to change.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the return-to-work situation for parents, with many workplaces still primarily working from home.
  • Return-to-work conversations between employees and employers are not always easy but they are crucial. HR departments should consider having a checklist for parents returning to work.
  • Organisations benefit from their female staff returning to work after having children and should support them to do so or risk losing talented, experienced employees to other employers.
  • Women returning to work can feel lonely or isolated, particularly if they haven’t had much contact with their employer or colleagues while on leave.
  • New parents have gained many skills they often don’t recognise such as time management.
  • Mothers should recognise and acknowledge ‘mother’s guilt’ which they will likely have no matter what decisions they make regarding their return to work.
  • Setting boundaries and prioritising self-care can help new parents make sure their return to work is realistic and healthy for their family and circumstances.

About Anna:

Anna Wilk is a birth and baby professional passionate about diversity and inclusion who specialises in maternity leave support. By providing targeted support to new mothers, Anna helps employers close potential gender gaps and build a family-friendly work environment for mothers returning to work.

Anna is a regular guest on Tuesday’s “Verulam in the Morning” radio show and as a featured expert in the Female Entrepreneurs Association. She supports women locally in the UK and her work has also taken her to France, Croatia, Monaco, Ireland, Spain, Cayman Islands. She has also supported women globally through online communities.

Anna is a recognised Doula UK doula and a member of Southwood Social Hub, a female networking community. She holds an MBA and is the proud author of “Made with Love: Your Baby”, a baby diary that is a practical tool for new parents. 

You can connect with Anna on LinkedIn and find her book Made With Love: Your Baby here.