Make sure everyone in the company is aware that the person returning to work is starting. Invite them for coffee, have a welcome-back call, or just drop them a message to ask how they’re getting on. It’s easy to accidentally miss people out of calls in those early weeks, but forgetting isn’t an excuse.
Managers need to give them settling-in time, and encourage breaks to ensure they don’t burn out. Assure them that any childcare issues may crop up and that’s okay – you are working to a new routine. And, really importantly make sure you have lots of check-in points with the team and management. Support is absolutely key.
By recognising the challenge in coming back isn’t just about childcare, travel and missed work themes. It’s a huge mental shift after a life-changing milestone that comes with confidence issues, a lot of emotional processing and personal priority shifts. Supporting your returners both mentally as well as practically can really make a difference.
Coming ‘back to work’ is a daunting and nerve-racking experience; I remember crying on the train once.
Welcoming mothers back needs to begin before the woman returns to work, and it's important not to lose contact during maternity leave. Inclusivity is paramount, so employers can still update colleagues and invite them for refresher days to ease them back into the workplace gently.
Employers also need to understand that mothers may feel mentally and physically exhausted. Everyone is different, but ensuring conversations are had so women feel supported is key.
Returning to work as a new mum is harder than starting. Make sure they are returning to a warm welcome. Leaving your baby is so hard, so making sure it’s not a rush to return is so important. Know that, for the first few weeks, they may not be at 100% and ease them back in with smaller projects.