Athena Swan

Athena Swan promotes and supports the careers of women in Science, Engineering and Technology (STEM), and aims to address gender inequalities and imbalance in these disciplines and, in particular, the under-representation of women in senior roles.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Guardian Women in Leadership - Parental leave: what to expect on the return to work

By: Paula Parfitt
For new mums – and dads making use of shared paternity laws – returning to work after parental leave can be a daunting experience.Taking this step requires support and understanding from partners, employers and colleagues, as well as pragmatism and courage from the person returning. Re-entering working life is a very different experience for each individual, and many find it understandably challenging. I have two children, but each time I returned to work following maternity leave couldn’t have been more different.
Inevitably, a long period of absence means that the business moves on. What I saw was that people change, priorities shift and team dynamics alter. Re-entering the workplace can often cause angst or confusion among colleagues – understandably, it’s difficult to have to pick up responsibilities from mums-and-dads-to-be, then hand them back once they return from parental leave. All this is incredibly unnerving for the person returning.
Over an extended period of time certain tasks become an integral part of a person’s job role, and it isn’t always a relief to hand them back. So I made it my mission to find out what had happened while I was away and where the main frustrations lay, so I could integrate back into the business and rebuild my team. Never is emotional intelligence as vital as when you are navigating your own complex feelings about work, as well as trying to understand how your return affects those around you.

 Read more here.

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