Guest Author - Dianne Walker
Whether you are returning from a six week or six month maternity leave, making a graceful entrance back into the workplace will have a big impact on how management and your co-workers will view you. If you return to work like you’re the queen mother bee, you may be in for trouble.
Here are some tips on how to return from maternity leave gracefully.
Get up to date. You’ve been out of work for a while so things in the office may have changed. If possible, spend some time sorting through your e-mails and memos to make sure that you are up to date on all projects, personnel changes and other matters of importance. Remember that the world did not stop turning while you were out of the office.
Consider your co-workers. Unless you have the type of job that lies dormant during your absence, remember that your co-workers have been doing your job while you were out. Even something as simple as a “thank you” can go a long way. Once you are back, don’t ask them to continue to do your job while you take numerous “mommy” breaks.
Ask before you break out the pictures of your new arrival. As cute as your baby may be, keep in mind that not everyone wants to look at endless pictures. As tempting as it may be, save the picture show for lunch and breaks. Also unless someone specifically asks you to see the pictures don’t assume that they are interested. As hard as it may be for you to believe, some people don’t want to see them. Please respect their wishes.
Are you considering another job or not returning to work? This is always an option. If you didn’t do it before hand, check out your company policy on returning to work after maternity leave. Some companies require you to return to work for a specified period after being out on paid disability leave. If you do not return, they could require you to pay back part of your benefits, including medical, for the time they covered you while out on leave.
Are you considering asking for a raise when you get back? You may want to reconsider. Being out - then coming back and immediately asking for a raise is not the best idea. Keep in mind even if you were a star before you left, you may need to prove yourself all over again depending on the length of time you’ve been out.
Returning from maternity leave after spending quality time with your newborn infant is definitely hard. Many mothers are tempted to remain at home in order to raise their child. This may be something that you want to consider. If you do decide to return to work it is important that you fully commit to the work level expected within your position. Be considerate of your co-workers and others in the organization. Making a graceful re-entry will definitely ease your transition back into the workplace.