Ever wondered what women do on maternity leave? This blog explores why it is so much more than changing nappies and feeding!
Unfortunately, many managers have a negative perception of women returning back to work after maternity leave. It could be because they worry about a change in their returning team member that they are not sure how to handle; it could be that they expect too much too soon; or that they expect too little and presume their team member is now no longer as committed and focused.
Yes, it takes a few weeks for returners to settle in, as they grapple with the biggest change they have probably ever had to manage. Being responsible for a tiny person is physically and emotionally challenging. Coupled with new logistics to work out, a change in image, a lapse in confidence; it’s no wonder the first month or so is rather a test.
Yet it’s only a matter of weeks. If managed sensitively and well supported, managers soon find that their returners are their most productive, loyal and committed team members. In addition, women possibly learn more about themselves during maternity leave than during any other period of their lives. Here are just a few of the outstanding skill and behavioural changes you can expect to see in your maternity returner:
- building and maintaining a support network, strengthening relationships
- honing multi-tasking, time management and organisational skills to perfection
- learning how to operate in difficult working environment
- managing change and uncertainty on a daily basis
- seeing things from others’ perspective, being empathetic – becoming a strong leader
- pushing yourself to your physical limits – working through sleep deprivation
- developing patience like you have never had before
- managing conflict and challenging situations, and negotiating
- putting things into perspective – work stress will be managed much more effectively as you are forced to re-focus on family at the end of each day
- developing a new drive to prove they can still perform, even after several months out of the busines
- building a healthier work/life balance – if you have to pick up from childcare, you have to get that work finished on time, so speed and focus often picks up
Invest trust and flexibility into your maternity returners for long-term productivity and loyalty (plus all the skills above which can be implemented immediately into the business world!)
Would you like to support your maternity returners but lack time or expertise? Our maternity coaches will do it all for you.. Contact email@example.com for more information.