What are the ways to stay productive at work after maternity leave? For most female career professionals, returning to work after maternity can prove to be a very difficult and challenging phase in their career.
Most working mums have different experiences and working professionals can learn a lot about their experiences when returning to work after a long hiatus.
We spoke to career mums who shared their various experiences and stories on ways to stay productive when returning to work after maternity leave.
Maya Angelou once wrote, “…pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” I believe it has to do with passion. This is why it is important for career mums to love what they do or do what they love. This makes staying productive less tasking.
“It really would be less of a challenge at work after your maternity leave if the job that you do is something you are passionate about,” says Tolu who works with The African Talent Company.
The importance of staying motivated and productive cannot be overemphasised. Motivating yourself for work after maternity leave can help you stay focused and excited to win. You’ll have to remind yourself you need the job. Don’t hesitate to tell yourself that you can do this and list out all the benefits (salary, other benefits) you derive from the job
“I psych myself with the sense of purpose my job gives me as well as how far I have come,” says Perpetua who works with The African Talent Company. She added that it is important that you do not let your personal and professional responsibilities overwhelm you.
Spend the last 2-3 weeks before resumption to stay up to date with things that have changed, what has been updated, what has been done and what needs to be done. This will help you stay abreast of what is going on at work. It also helps you stay mentally prepared for the tasks ahead.
“If I realise that I have missed out on a lot of things I settle for one or two training online. I also ensure I read books and it takes me about 1-2 weeks to be back to optimal performance at work,” says Amaka Okwuashi, Head HR, Jobberman.
She explained that because of her work as a Head HR, she would usually hold meetings with all the units and heads to get updated with all that has happened as well as ongoing tasks before she resumes at work.
Adebola Adefiranye, an Education Consultant says 3 weeks before resumption, she registered her baby in a creche. She added that she made sure it was a very good and comfortable creche, which has been well researched. She also did her background checks to ensure she could drop her baby off there on her way to work and have peace of mind while at work.
Before resumption, Adebola monitored how her baby would cope and by the time she resumed, she made sure everything her baby needed was provided. Knowing her baby was in very good hands gave her the confidence to work and focus on meeting her goals at work.
According to Happiness, a Sales Consultant based in Lagos, her post-maternity experience turned out to be an episode of heartbreak and disappointment as her employer chose this time to downsize. Due to Nigeria’s economic recession at the time, the organisation eventually closed shop.
She was asked to wait but after a month, she realised that she couldn’t wait anymore because she really needed a job. Happiness says, “I took a teaching job for the interim while I was actively searching for a job and attending several interviews”. At a point, she realised that many of the companies she applied for jobs at usually ceased communicating with her whenever she mentioned that she was a nursing mom. Due to this reality, she began leaving out her marital status and the fact that she had a baby while communicating with potential employers.
“I eventually reached out to my networks from some of the previous places I had worked in the past. I tried to leverage on them and of course, I always shared my predicament with them.” Happiness attended a few more interviews and eventually landed a job.
From Happiness’ experience, career mums should be mentally motivated for anything post maternity because the job you’re returning to may not be there. You could face other difficulties as well but preparing yourself mentally and being decisive and patient would see you through.
Are you a career mom? What are the strategies you used to stay productive and relevant at work after maternity leave?