Flexibility at its best | My experience of returning to work after maternity leave
"Returning to work after maternity leave can be a daunting experience. You’re spending time away from your baby for the first time and leaving them in the care of someone else, you've been out of the workforce for a number of months doing and thinking all things baby, some colleagues may have moved on and new people have joined that you need to get to know. This, along with an organisation that is ahead of the curve and is continuously driving change, is a lot to wrap your head around!
On the flip side, it can also be an exciting experience! It’s a luxury to have a bit of time to yourself on the commute into work, enjoying a morning coffee while it's still hot, holding adult conversations and applying those skills you have spent so long building throughout your career. On top of this, it’s nice to return to the great rewards and recognition: the fun end of quarter events, quarterly platinum club lunches, annual high flyers overseas trips and of course the office Christmas Party. I know in my situation it's been quite some time since I've been able to have some time to myself to enjoy a nice long lunch or a night out!
In terms of my personal experience, I have just returned from my second round of maternity leave and each time Morgan McKinley have accommodated my needs in more ways than one. Not only have they allowed me to return to work on a part-time basis, they have also allowed me to work flexibly within my new arrangement. When I returned to work after having my first daughter, I was working a four-day week. Three of these days were in the office, and the fourth day was completed at any time I could throughout the week. This meant I was only paying for 3 days of childcare and could spend an extra day at home with my daughter. It’s this level of trust and autonomy which is second to none.
This time around (January 2018) after having my second daughter, I have returned to a 3-day working week. This request was met with nothing but support - in fact, I was asked what would suit me rather than forced to adopt a solution according to business needs. The role I’m doing now is one that I am very excited about, is different from what I have been doing for the past 11 years with Morgan McKinley, and plays to my strengths. I am learning new things, getting involved in new initiatives, and loving every minute being part of this forward-thinking organisation.
Morgan McKinley have allowed me to design a working life that balances perfectly with my priorities at home, which is so important to my family and I. I am lucky enough to spend valuable time at home with my children during these precious years, but I don’t have to sacrifice driving my career forward and doing something that I love.
In terms of logistics for next year, with my eldest starting school I have no doubt that we will again find a solution that works for both the business and myself."
Julie Gardiner | Reporting & Operations Manager, Sydney