Have you taken a break from work recently? Whether it is due to a new baby, a long term career break or an illness, going back to work is a big decision. A lot of our Partners come to us initially as mothers on maternity leave, looking for an option that is more flexible for their young family. Here are our top 3 factors to consider when returning to work...

Has your industry changed? Is there new software you aren’t trained on? These questions are often the first asked, especially in industries that are constantly innovating. While it is easy to be intimidated by these, a good way to soften your reintroduction is speaking to old colleagues and mentors in the industry. Even if you’re joining a new brand, they will be able to freshen your memory and get those professional juices flowing. If you’re returning to the same company, why not reach out to your previous boss? A casual coffee can be a great way to catch up on everything you’ve missed and point you in the direction of any knowledge gaps you may need to fill.

If illness or maternity leave were your reasons for being away from the career ladder, then you need to consider how you will balance these with a job. If an illness, always consult your doctor or specialist before returning to work - they will give you all the advice and directions necessary to work safely and healthily. Make sure you are communicating all the time with your employer; keeping them in the loop will help if you ever need breathing space for your health. If it was due to maternity leave, then you need to consider childcare. Nurseries and childminders can be expensive but if that’s the route you’re going down, then check with your employer that you can fit in collections and drop offs with your work day. If not, do you have family who can help care for your little ones? Consider a Partnership/franchise opportunity, then you can have a strong career which is flexible enough to fit around your family. This way you get the best of both worlds, with a great business, less of the pressure and more time to spend with your growing family.

It can be a shock to the system returning to the 9-5 grind after some time away. The early mornings, the long commute, dealing with difficult co-workers again - all these factors can be draining, emotionally and physically. If you are returning from maternity leave, you need to consider the impact of being away from your baby for the first time and the exhaustion involved with balancing the two. Similarly if illness is the reason from your career break, going into a full-on work day can impact your health, mentally and physically. There are also the financial implications to consider, now you’re paying for travelling, lunches and any other business expenses, is it realistic? Can you cope? This is, again, where a flexible option can be a great choice. Running your own business can be hard work but the rewards can be tenfold - you can work from home, create a schedule that fits around your family and don’t need to worry about paying for commutes - or indeed getting stuck in them! Virtual options can be especially useful if you have specific skills but don’t want to be parked in an office all day.

At times like this, it can pay to be selfish - what do you need? What is essential for you to not only cope, but flourish? A great place to start is speaking to people who have been in the same situation as you and come out the other side. If you would like to speak to one of our Partners about their journey with SmartPA, get in touch today!

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