Read our short article on how to balance a new baby with working from home

  • Use your return to work meeting to discuss arrangements

  • Encourage a good work/life balance

  • Be flexible

Returning from Maternity, or Shared Parental, Leave can be daunting at any time, but even more so during the COVID crisis, where returning to work may mean adapting to working from home and balancing child care requirements. So how can employers help?

Communicate!

Set up a return to work conversation well in advance of any proposed return date. Use this time to listen to any concerns, ensure your employee has the right equipment to work from home and discuss child care arrangements. Update them on any changes that have taken place (do you have new staff, new processes, etc?). Give them a chance to meet and reconnect with the team via an online team meeting. You should also go through a work from home risk assessment at this point.

Tips you Can Share

  • Have a schedule that includes work time, family time and care arrangements as well as any appointments and other obligations
  • Explain how they can access potential free childcare if they are looking at using a nanny, day care or even relatives (in some instances). Discuss back up care in case they get let down
  • Encourage them to set up a morning and evening routine and stick to it, even if they’re not leaving the house, getting showered and dressed, and fully prepared for the day is still important, as is switch off time
  • Explain arrangements for Time off for Dependents and Parental Leave and how they should inform you or apply if either is needed
  • Help the employee to take care of themselves, not neglect their own needs. Do you have an EAP in place they can access? Encourage them to schedule some “me” time in their calendar
  • Set up times for regular contact with colleagues and managers – this helps them to feel part of the team and gives some time for feedback if they are struggling
  • Set manageable expectations – review workloads and how practical expectations are
  • Encourage employees to make a to-do list every day and stick to it, staying focussed will encourage better productivity
  • Reassure the employee that they may find things stressful and they should talk to you, or a colleague, for support
  • Allow flexible hours if possible – as long as the work gets done, is it vital it gets done at 9am, or could it be done later around feeding and bed times?
  • Ask them to inform friends and family about their homeworking status, so they won’t be dropping by at inconvenient times
  • Establish ground rules if any attendance is required at the office for any reason
  • Promote rest breaks – its too tempting when working from home to power on through, regular rest breaks are important

Do you have questions about maternity or working from home?

Give us a call at CUBE HR, we’ll be happy to advise you and we have policies and templates available to meet every HR need.

Why not check out our other blog on the same topic Maternity Leave – 3 Things You Need to Know

You can also watch a range of other videos on our YouTube channel