Working moms have always had two full-time jobs — being a mom and working their job. However, the COVID-19 pandemic shook up the lives of working moms in a unique way, forcing many moms to care for their children and continue working from the same location: home.
Thirty-six percent of mothers working from home during the pandemic said they had a lot of child care responsibilities to handle while working, according to a Pew Research Center survey. In comparison, just 16% of dads working from home responded similarly.
For this reason and more, many working moms are looking forward to returning to the office post-COVID. However, the transition back to the office doesn’t necessarily guarantee a return to “normalcy” that you may be expecting. There are bound to be new changes that require a bit of flexibility. But, with the right know-how, preparation, and perspective, moms returning to work can rock this new season.
What to Expect When You Return
Moms returning to work will need to prepare for a new normal both back in the office and at home. There are likely going to be office-wide adjustments and personal schedule changes that will require a bit of patience and adaptability as you make your way back into the workplace.
Working from home has offered the flexibility and freedom to manage your day in a way that works best for you. Returning to the office means you’ll generally have less flexibility and more structure than you may have had at home. You’ll have a more set schedule to adhere to, but you may also have fewer distractions as you get work done.
Coming back into the office means showing up at a certain time and putting in a full workday before leaving. The return to this type of work schedule may also limit the amount of communication you can have with your family throughout the day. It’s important to remember that both you and your family will need some time to adjust back to a pre-COVID schedule.
Heading back to the workplace may be a challenge at first, but luckily, there are strategies to make the transition a little easier.
5 Strategies for Successfully Returning to Work
Returning to the workplace doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly difficult. By being proactive about childcare, creating a new daily routine, and having open conversations with your family and employer, you can help prepare yourself and everyone around you for your return to work.
Set Up Childcare in Advance
During your work-from-home season, your children likely got used to having you around all of the time. However, this reliance will have to shift as you make your way back to the office every day. That’s why securing child care in advance is key for moms returning to work. Select a child care facility or babysitter that fits with your new work schedule.
Ideally, this choice should be made at least two weeks before your official return to the office. This will give your children time to adjust to their new environment or babysitter. It also gives you time to confirm that the care you selected is the right fit for your needs.
Create a Daily Routine
Be intentional about setting a daily routine for yourself and your family. Let your family know what your new schedule will look like and when they can expect you at home each day. Establish a new daily routine with your children, such as breakfast together before the babysitter arrives, to prepare them for the day ahead. Setting this schedule will also help you better adjust to a sleep schedule that gets you up in time to get ready and head for work.
Having a daily routine helps give everyone a sense of security, stability, and normalcy. It will also help you maintain a healthy work-life balance as you prioritize work and family.
Flex Your Schedule
Consider talking to your employer about easing back into the office with a flex schedule. Having a flex schedule can give moms returning to work more flexibility through the transition. It will also give everyone involved more time to adjust to the new normal. If possible, consider returning to the office a few days a week or for lessened hours each day until you and your family are prepared for a full-time return.
When discussing this option with your employer, be sure to emphasize your commitment to your role. Mention that you’ll still have the availability to work from home during the days or times you aren’t in the office so that it won’t impact your quality of work. Additionally, put together a sample schedule to help your employer visualize what you’re asking for.
Offer Support and Patience
When you return to work, your entire family will need time to adjust. It’s important for everyone to be patient and supportive toward one another. The transition may be particularly difficult for your children, who may have grown used to having access to you throughout the day. Make sure they have everything they need to feel supported through the change.
Personalize Your Office
Your office is your home at work. So, why not make it feel like home? Decorate your office or cubicle in a way that makes you smile. Hang up photos of your family, display old gifts from your kids, or bring a collection of your favorite coffee mugs. On tough days, you can look around your office at all of the things and people that bring you joy.
Enjoy a Smooth Transition with BestCompaniesAZ
Moms ready to return to work may or may not want to come back to the same job. If you’re looking for a fresh start at a new job, BestCompaniesAZ can help.
With BestCompaniesAZ, you can learn more about some of Arizona’s Top Employers and understand their resources for working parents. If you’re considering relocating to Phoenix, you can also find moving resources and open positions at these companies on BestCompaniesAZ.com.
Explore BestCompaniesAZ’s top Arizona employers today to find your next dream job and make a smooth transition back into the office.