Tuesday, 23 June 2020 15:46

Returning From Maternity Leave During Lockdown

Returning From Maternity Leave During Lockdown

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine ending my maternity leave and returning to work during a pandemic, working ‘virtually’ with my baby in the next room… far from ideal circumstances!

We welcomed our first baby daughter last July, and I have really enjoyed my maternity leave, minus some of the challenges of the early days which are now becoming a distant memory! It’s been an absolute delight developing that special bond, having lots of fun at baby classes, as well making some fantastic friends and eating a lot of cake! Throughout my time off I kept in regular contact with my team and enjoyed having the chance to complete some ‘keeping in touch’ days so that key elements of my pre-baby life, such as my professional life and career at AAB never seemed impossible to return to.

As the months passed by, and because of the regular contact, I found myself really looking forward to returning to work. However, this was coupled with the worry and dread of leaving my daughter, but I was really reassured and comforted following a meeting with my Manager where a phased return to work and adjustment of my working hours was agreed. This phased return has given me the chance to gradually adjust to continuing my career and still continue to be able to virtually take part in lots of our baby groups and activities. I feel lucky and comforted to work for such an agile and forward thinking firm, where I know my commitments outside of work are valued and I have the flexibility I need to meet the new demands of my work and family life.

I was concerned returning to work virtually would make it challenging to catch up with people from the office and that it would be difficult to sense culturally how the firm had moved on since my time away. Things certainly do not stand still at AAB! I was very pleased to learn about the introduction of Microsoft Teams in my time away and this has been pivotal in allowing me to feel connected to my colleagues especially through video calling during lockdown, I really value being able to see one another through our daily team meetings. Across the firm we have also been using the benefits of our technology to have fun and have been arranging e-lunches and social activities through Teams.

Prior to my maternity leave, I was responsible for the firm’s Health and Wellbeing programme and it has been great to return and focus on providing tailored support to our teams through the Coronavirus pandemic. We have shared advice covering physical, mental and financial wellbeing. It has also been great to highlight the firm’s benefits including our private medical cover and employee assistance programme, as well as our e-learning wellbeing course which I know is really appreciated.

I’m still at the beginning of my journey returning to work but it has been a great first few weeks and I’m really looking forward to the point in time I can properly start my next chapter, working safely from the office and meeting again with my friends, colleagues and wider network.

By Jessica Nicol, Human Resources Manager