This articles was written by Brie Weiler Reynolds. Brie is the Director of Online Content at FlexJobs and a work-at-home mom to son, Jack, nine months. FlexJobs is the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible jobs, listing thousands of pre-screened, legitimate, and professional-level work-from-home, flexible schedule, part-time, and freelance jobs. Brie provides career and job search advice through the FlexJobs Blog. Learn more at www.FlexJobs.com.
No matter how much you prepare and plan for it, having a baby changes your life. From day-to-day activities, to your long-term perspective, in some ways you’re simply a different person after you have a baby. And for many women, going back to work after maternity leave doesn’t seem so cut and dry as it did just a few months before.
One of the ways new moms are able to make a successful transition back to work after maternity leave is to work a flexible schedule. Speaking from recent experience, as the mother of a nine-month-old boy, flexible work options helped me come back to work successfully. And even though I love my job and take great pride in working, without a flexible schedule and the ability to work from home, I don’t think I would have lasted long as a full-time professional. Because of flexible scheduling, I’m able to be of value to my company AND spend a lot of quality time with my family without feeling conflicted about either one.
If you’re planning to return to work after maternity leave, here are five tips for asking your boss for a flexible schedule.
1) Decide what types of flexibility are best for you. Every family has their own schedules, so figure out what the ideal flexible schedule looks like to you. Consider your spouse’s schedule, childcare options, commute times, and the scheduling needs of your job. Would you like to shift your work hours to avoid rush hour traffic? Or work from home one or more days each week? Perhaps you’d like to set your own hours, or work a compressed workweek. Or maybe you’d rather work part-time hours. Decide the best type of flexible schedule for your situation and your job before moving forward.
2) Wait until you’re back in the office to make the request. Negotiating a flexible schedule while you’re on maternity leave is difficult because it’s been months since you contributed to the team and people have figured out how to function in your absence. Give yourself a week or two in the office to remind everyone of your value at the company. Once everyone is happily relying on you again, you’ll be in a much stronger position to negotiate.