Part One: are you ready for a return to work?
Flexible working has largely been the domain of candidates returning to work after a career break. However, this is gradually changing with more and more employers viewing flexible working as a useful incentive that companies can really benefit from.
Many job hunters requiring greater flexibility have found that their old jobs no longer fit around their family commitments. And many are often returning after taking a career break to care for family members – young, old, and even those of the canine variety! So if you find yourself in this situation, there are a few things to think about before returning to work.
Taking the first steps
It’s not easy working out when you’ll be able to take on the commitment of juggling work alongside family commitments. It may even seem like a massive pressure staying on top of two jobs – one in the home and one outside of it. You’ll want to feel totally ready to make the leap before embarking on a return. But – bear in mind that there may never be a ‘right’ time to make the leap either – a bit like making a decision to have a baby.
What’s more, in many cases, the decision may even be taken out of your hands. You may have come to the end of your paid maternity leave period for example. Either way, you need to think positively and pragmatically about your situation. Employers will only want to see a positive attitude from potential candidates.
A support network to rely on
Think about the practical issues surrounding your return to work. You might have booked a nursery place – often twelve months in advance. But do you have adequate back up in case sickness strikes or the unexpected happens such as your nursery’s heating going off?
It’s also a given that every child will be poorly in the first few weeks that you decide to return to work. Bear this in mind if you’re anticipating a start date in the depths of winter when all the bugs are flying around.
You might also want to brush up on your rights in the workplace as this can give you added peace of mind, including parental leave if you do find you suddenly need an extended period of time off.
Talk to friends and relatives who could be available to help you out in an emergency. Think about getting a cleaner and consider other shortcuts you may need to make along the way, like quick and easy dinners or cycling to work instead of spending time going to the gym. Many parents find having a routine like a weekly meal planner, for themselves as well as the children, to be essential in managing their work-life balance.
How can ‘working’ possibly work?!
It’s possible you’ve had to take time out of your career because you haven’t been able to split yourself into two or three people. So a return to work can be a daunting task from a logistical point of view. And this is why researching flexible working options should be high on your list of priorities from the outset.
There are many more ways to manage your time beyond getting a traditional part-time job. From reduced hours to staggered full-time hours to job shares or contract work, there are lots of ways a return to work can fit around your other commitments. Find out more here.
If you know what sort of working week might suit your lifestyle, you can then approach a prospective or an existing employer with your requirements. And remember to be confident. You won’t be the first person to have ever needed flexibility in the workplace – millions of parents make it work every day.
Small steps, big impression
Even if you’re not quite ready to return to work yet, it’s still worth keeping your hand in where possible. Check in with old work colleagues from time to time, read industry articles and have an awareness of changes that may be happening in your field.
This is also a good time to build your social media profile on LinkedIn and other networking sites. New employers often check these during the hiring process, so by being proactive now, it could pay off later. Again, our Ten2Two workshops can be a good place to start in building your confidence for a return to work.
If any of this has inspired you, why not register with us today to start receiving job updates with the types of vacancies available in your area. It could be the inspiration you need to get back in the working saddle. And remember, a return to work can be a liberating and enjoyable experience. The hardest part is taking the first step…