Easing the Return from Maternity Leave
Just a few weeks ago, I returned to my job after the birth of my first child. While many companies will often recognize a new mom when she returns to work, I deeply appreciated the warm welcome back I received. It truly reminded me how much I love working at Plex Systems, and it's because of the amazing people I work with.
It was really hard to drop my daughter off at daycare that first week back ... but when I returned to my office, I was greeted by “welcome back” signs, flowers and chocolate-covered strawberries, all of which definitely made me feel special, appreciated and missed! Many other working parents also took the time to check on me throughout the week to offer their support. They know it's an emotional time, and everyone expects it to be … which could be why they also left an extra box of tissues on my desk! They are truly thoughtful here!
One of the biggest bonuses as a working mom, especially a new one, is the flexibility in our work schedules. So if my husband and I have a long night with the baby and I want to arrive at work at 10 a.m., that is acceptable. I can even plan out my regular schedule to run on very different business hours, such as 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m., to allow me to spend as many waking hours with my daughter as possible. I also have the ability to work from home whenever necessary – it's a benefit all employees have, whether you have a sick child, have someone delivering something to your house or an appointment you need to take; you can choose to stay home and work from there.
But perhaps the biggest perk during my maternity leave was the meal program. Several years ago, one of our project managers, Mig O'Brien, began a program in which employees volunteer to make dinners for new parents. After our daughter was born, my husband and I received dinners three days a week – for six weeks. I can't even tell you how awesome that was! Most of the meals would last for two days, and I still have a few meals saved in my freezer; it took so much pressure off of us as we were adjusting to our new lives as parents. When I tell my friends about this, they are stunned – none of them have companies or coworkers that go the extra mile like the people I work with do.
My entire team was so wonderful throughout my pregnancy, especially with some of the complications we experienced – their first priority was always to make sure the baby and I were okay, and that care has continued even after she was born. All in all, I am truly blessed to work for a super-supportive company that treats family as a priority.
Heather Bielecki is a Market Operations Specialist for Plex Systems.