While You Were Out - January 2019
While You Were Out - January 2019

After our first ‘While You Were Out’ in January we decided to collate a collection of the key tips and advice we heard throughout the morning from mothers returning to work after maternity leave.

There was a great mix of attendees from Advertising, Media and Marketing agencies - those who were on maternity leave, or just returned to work, as well as, those with a couple of year’s experience under their belt as parents back in the workplace.

Key advice when returning to work
Key advice when returning to work

Start as you mean to continue – You'll have a new routine, keep with it - remember that it will take other people time to adjust to your new routine too. Don’t take it personally if someone puts a 4.30 meeting in your diary, they most likely forgot - be sure to remind them.

Get up to speed after being off – This is a great time to bring a new perspective so use the first week back wisely to get up to speed on market information. Arm yourself with knowledge and you will feel more confident.

Set Boundaries - Get clarity of thought as to what you want from your return to work and allow yourself to decide this along the way. This transition is a big one, so give yourself a break while adjusting.

Don’t be a slave to old routines – Going back to work is an opportunity to reset and consider the people around you afresh. Be open to new ways of working.

Practical advice – Get your work clothes ready the night before. Getting a baby out of the house is no joke, so the more prepared you are the better.

See video 😊

Advice – Talk to someone who has been there done that – it will be a big help and you may pick up some tips and tricks that will help you settle in faster. Keep an eye on the IAPI events page for the next session of WYWO or there may be some relevant events for you on Meet Up, if you want advice outside of your company.

Productivity v.s Hours served at your desk - Once you are getting things done you don’t have to be seen to be glued to your desk for those long hours that may have once been expected. Planning is key and some find success with working in new ways – adapting to the new work/life balance with your changed priorities: Working Smarter. You have a new perspective so own it!


Flexible work - The rise of flexible work hours in the industry – some agencies are allowing early starts / early finishing as well as late start / late finishing for those who want it. This can be helpful for planning your schedule around creches.

Creches - Depending on where you live it can be difficult to get a place at the local creche. Some creches don’t offer flexibility around days. The competition is becoming comparable to that of registering children for school.

And last but definitely not least:

Don’t be apologetic - Remind yourself of who you are & what you are good at. You have time to catch up.

A bit more about our series of While You Were Out Sessions
A bit more about our series of While You Were Out Sessions

No matter how much you love your job, returning to work after an extended period of leave can be a daunting, overwhelming prospect.

Returning directly after maternity leave or long term/extended sick leave is also a point at which we know many people step off, or fall off, the career ladder, unable to see how their life priorities can be balanced.

'While You Were Out' is a meet up for people in the creative and media industries who are currently on maternity leave or long term/extended sick leave and would like to get back to work, who would like some support and guidance from other people in the industry who have maybe been there, done that!

Recently returned mothers and all those who feel they have experience to share are welcome to come along too. Join us at the next session of WYWO in June 2019.

If you'd like to hear about our next WYWO event & related mat leave / extended leave content be sure to leave us your OOO contact email here.