Support returning to work
It is the final countdown and your return to work is looming. You have enjoyed your time on maternity leave with your precious baby, but now it is time to prepare for your return to work.
You may feel anxious, nervous or a little stressed about going back to work. It is totally understandable; transitioning back to work after having a break is daunting.
You have two options…you can either go back and hope for the best or you can plan for your return, so you can feel confident and are ready to hit the ground running. I hope you choose the latter and here are some tips to help you to prepare:
Boost your confidence
Spend some time thinking about what you are good at and compiling a record of achievement. Go back over old matters or projects you worked on and note down any praise or positive feedback you received.
When you doubt your abilities and question whether you are able to do get back into the swing of things, you can revisit this document and be reminded of how capable you are of doing great work.
You will be surprised how quickly your “baby brain” will adapt to and process complex situations again.
Schedule a meeting with your line manager
If you are heading back to a previous role it is a good idea to find out the current team and company objectives. You will then know where to focus your energies without getting overwhelmed. You may return to hundreds or thousands of emails waiting for you in your mailbox. Before tackling them, get clear on what projects, work streams and initiatives still needing attention going forward. Focus on reading and organising emails relating to current matters and archive the rest.
If you are starting a new role, having such a meeting will guide you on where you should be focusing your energies in terms of getting up to speed. You will then be able to make an impact more quickly.
Create a personal 90 day plan
Your workload is likely to be light when you first return, so use the spare time to do some strategic planning.
Once you understand the objectives for your team and company, think about some individual business goals that you would like to achieve (e.g, win new clients, increase sales for your team, enhance the profile of your organisation).
You can then think about some things you can do in the first 90 days that will move you towards that goal. This will give you direction and it will no doubt impress your managers when you are able to report back some good results soon after your return.
Arrange IT refresher training
Arrange to have an IT refresher session with the IT department. Technology is so helpful when it works and you know how to use it. Conversely, it is super frustrating and energy draining when it doesn’t work or you don’t know how to use it. Familiarising yourself with the systems used by your team and any recent updates as soon as possible will remove any barriers to you being able to perform efficiently
Build your network
Start to nurture and build your network as soon as possible. Find people within and outside your organisation that you can rely on for support on days when things get tough or who can encourage you in your professional endeavours. No man (or woman) is an island, so make sure you are making an effort to build personal connections with people who will make a difference to your growth in your career. Schedule a few lunch or coffee dates to build your relationships and get to know people better.
You can make this transition back to work a successful one. A little planning goes a long way to helping you feel calm and confident about your return to work.
AUTHOR: JANINE ESBRAND
LIFE COACH, SURREY
Janine Esbrand is the founder of LightBOX Coaching, a coaching and consultancy company which supports professional women who return to work with confidence and build careers they love whilst raising a family. She is also a commercial lawyer and mother to two young children.