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4 Ways to Use Keep In Touch Days During Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is a critical period for new mothers, providing time to bond with their newborns and adjust to the demands of parenthood. However, it's also a time when maintaining a connection with your workplace can be beneficial, both for your career and your mental well-being.

In the UK, Keep In Touch (KIT) days offer an excellent opportunity for women on maternity leave to stay engaged with their professional lives without compromising  time with their baby. Here are four effective ways to make the most out of your KIT days.

1. Attend Training and Development Sessions

One of the most valuable uses of KIT days is to participate in training and development opportunities. According to a 2023 report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), continuous professional development is crucial for career progression and job satisfaction. Using your KIT days for training allows you to stay updated with the latest industry trends, acquire new skills, and ensure that you remain competitive in your field.

Why it matters:

  • Skill Enhancement: Attending workshops, seminars, or online courses can help you enhance your skill set, making you more valuable to your employer.

  • Confidence Boost: Staying up-to-date with industry developments can boost your confidence when you return to work, reducing the anxiety of falling behind.

  • Networking: These sessions often provide opportunities to network with colleagues and other professionals, which can be beneficial for future career prospects.

2. Catch Up on Projects and Meetings

Using KIT days to catch up on significant projects and attend important meetings can help you stay in the loop and ease your transition back to work. This approach allows you to keep abreast of changes and developments within your team and organisation, ensuring that you don’t feel overwhelmed when your maternity leave ends.

Why it matters:

  • Smooth Transition: Staying involved in ongoing projects can make your return smoother, as you’ll be up-to-date with current work and any changes that have occurred in your absence.

  • Continuity: Contributing to key meetings ensures that your insights and expertise continue to benefit your team, and you remain a valued member of the group.

  • Team Dynamics:  Regular interaction with your team can help maintain strong working relationships, which is crucial for a collaborative work environment.

3. Explore Flexible Work Arrangements

KIT days can be an excellent opportunity to explore and discuss flexible work arrangements with your employer. According to a 2024 survey by FlexJobs, 80% of UK employers have reported an increase in employee productivity and satisfaction when flexible working options are available. Whether it’s negotiating a part-time role, remote working options, or flexible hours, using your KIT days to have these discussions can set the stage for a more balanced work-life integration upon your return.

Why it matters:

  • Work-Life Balance: Discussing and arranging flexible work options can help you better manage your responsibilities as a new parent and a professional.

  • Reduced Stress: Knowing that you have a flexible arrangement in place can reduce the stress associated with returning to work.

  • Employer Support: Engaging in these discussions shows your employer that you are proactive and committed to finding a solution that benefits both parties.

4. Plan Your Return Strategically

Using KIT days to plan your return to work strategically can be immensely beneficial. This includes setting up meetings with your line manager or HR to discuss your role, expectations, and any support you might need upon your return. A phased return to work, where you gradually increase your hours, can also be planned during these days.

Why it matters:

  • Clarity: Having a clear plan and understanding of what to expect can make your return less daunting.

  • Support Systems: Discussing any additional support you might need, such as childcare arrangements or a phased return, ensures you are fully prepared.

  • Role Clarity: Ensuring clarity about your role and any changes that may have occurred can help you hit the ground running.

Final Thoughts

A 2024 study by the Institute for Employment Studies found that employees who used KIT days effectively were 40% more likely to report a smoother transition back to work and higher job satisfaction compared to those who did not.

Keep In Touch days are a valuable tool for women on maternity leave, offering numerous benefits for both personal and professional development. By attending training sessions, catching up on important projects, exploring flexible work options, and strategically planning your return, you can ensure a smoother transition back to the workplace. 

For more information on your rights and how to effectively use KIT days, you can visit the UK Government's Maternity Pay and Leave webpage, which provides comprehensive guidance and support.

Please get in touch with us if you’d like to find out more about our coaching solutions.

My colleague Sarah Turner and I have been busy creating content highlighting the importance of organisations providing support for working parents. As part of this, we created this video series exploring the entire journey of maternity leave, from before the leave starts, through to preparing to return and then the first few months back at work. If you or your organisation would like to understand more about how to support your employees as they take parental leave, please get in touch.  

This blog post is a collaboration between Maternity Coaches Laura Duggal and Sarah Turner. They are working together, sharing their experiences and bringing the best of their joint advice and knowledge to you.

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