We loved having human rights advocate and Grace Papers founder, Prue Gilbert host our first Masterclass Online of the year. Prue enlightened us on how to make your maternity leave work for you, and thrive rather than just survive once back at your desk. Whether you’re looking to get pregnant and want to prepare for those managerial conversations or well into your maternity leave and need some confidence builders before you go back to work, read on for her top five strategic tips for navigating your career while growing your family.
1. Reach out well in advance of your return to work
Did you know you have a right to 10 paid “keeping in touch days” while on maternity leave? That’s right! Work with your people leader to explore how you might use your keeping in touch days to reconnect with your workplace, learn about any changes to your role and keep yourself still top of mind even when you’re on maternity leave.
2. Reflect on your previous role
Whether you’re coming back to the same gig you had prior to maternity leave or you’re taking the gradual approach and starting part-time, it’ll be to your benefit to reflect on your role and think about your idyllic position. Start to redesign your role with a focus on your likes as they’re more likely to align with your strengths and therefore you can reduce the parts of your workload that don’t suit you.
3. Check your role aligns with your professional vision
Allow yourself to dream and reset your career goals. Don’t limit your potential to what you can see has been achieved before. The more energised you are about your work, the easier the juggle will be.
4. Build your employee value proposition
Develop a proposal for working flexibly that also supports the business to achieve its objectives.
5. Communicate with grace
Approach your return to work meeting with your manager as a two-way conversation. Listen to their concerns so that you understand them and can address them, but be prepared to speak up and ask for what you need – and call out both conscious and unconscious biases.
Prue’s #1 desire is for you to know you have more control over your return to work strategy than you think and that is why she designed Grace Papers— with you in mind. If you’re wanting more support after reading the above tips, take a look at Grace Papers programs – it’s designed for both for mums and dads.
Prue Gilbert is a lawyer, human rights advocate, and mother empowering working parents across Australia. She founded Grace Papers to challenge stereotypes around career and care, and champion inclusive and flexible workplaces – winning an Australian Human Rights Business Award in 2014.