A Returner's Guide To the Workplace

Essential know-how from Kelly Services

Returning to work after a long break is a major decision. Working out how to balance the different demands of work and home, choosing the right child care and knowing where and how to start on a second career are just some of the challenges which face people returning to work. Many parents benefit enormously from returning to work and enjoy having the opportunity to meet different people, take up new challenges and use skills that may have been rusting away for a while. New skills mean new challenges, more responsibility and higher pay rates so it's worth getting to grips with today's hi-tech office. However, if it's a long time since you've been in the workplace, things may have changed. Whilst this fact sheet can't come up with all the answers it will be a good starting point. Addresses of organisations that can offer further help and advice are given at the end.


When is the right time?

There is no such thing as the 'right time' to go back to work. The right time is when you feel it would benefit you and the other members of your family. If you are thinking of taking the plunge go out and talk to as many mums as you can. Find out how they feel, how they make it work on a practical basis and discuss your own concerns with them.


What are my options?

If you know that you want a full time job then obviously that is what you can concentrate your efforts on. If however, you feel that you need to be home in the school holidays or want to work just in school hours then there are a number of different options for you to consider. Flexible working is becoming more and more common and it may be that working part-time, temping or job sharing will help you juggle the demands of home and work.

 

Temping

If you don't want to commit yourself long term or want to be able to experience a mixture of different work situations before you do so, then temporary work could be the answer. The best way to find temporary work is through a reputable employment agency such as Kelly.

 

Job-sharing

This is when two people share the tasks of one job. When it works well it is a brilliant arrangement and often allows women to go into areas of work that aren't available to them on a part-time basis. However, before deciding you need to think about whether you could manage on half a wage and whether your type of work is suitable for job-sharing.


Where can I update my skills?

Employment agencies : Some offer free training in keyboard and computer skills as well as in customer care and telesales. Kelly runs special returners refresher courses on a regular basis as well as offering its revolutionary computer based training system PinPoint™. Pinpoint, which takes the pain out of new technology, makes learning new software easy and quick and can be tailored to meet individual requirements.
Adult education colleges: run day and evening classes in a variety of subjects. Some are specially aimed at women who have been out of work for a while.


Are my skills relevant?

Yes they are because if you stop to think about it, whilst you have been at home you have been doing many of the tasks that are required in business today. Getting the children to school on time is 'time-management', managing household expenditure is 'budgeting', coping with the pressures and demands of young children is 'people management' and so it goes on. You are exactly what many employers are looking for - someone who is flexible, hard working, responsible and reliable.

 

How do I prepare?

You will need to put a CV together, which highlights your achievements and your strengths and you may also like to put a portfolio together which demonstrates what you have done in the past.


What sort of child care should I choose?

Give yourself plenty of time to research the different options available and to select the right child care for your family. Most local authorities provide day nurseries for pre-school children which are either free or relatively low cost but there is strong pressure on places. An alternative is a private nursery - check which local nursery is most likely to suit your child and how much they charge. Details of registered childminders who look after your child in their own homes for part or all of the working day can be obtained from your local authority. Nannies should have a recognised child care qualification and are expensive which is why many mothers get together and set up a share.