Parents disclose things they enjoy most about returning to work

A study of 750 mums and dads who have recently returned from parental leave found a change of scenery and having more structure to the day are other unexpected pleasures they enjoy after going back to work post-baby.

It also emerged new mums and dads love the variety of resuming their careers (12%), and the chance to get dressed up (9%). Seven in 10 (69%) admit going to work offers them a welcome break from home life, but almost half (49%) can’t wait to be reunited with their children at the end of the day.

As many as 80% enjoy spending time with colleagues, while 72% think going back to work has made them appreciate the time they do spend with their children even more.

Gill Jones, group chief quality officer at Busy Bees, which commissioned the research, said: “Returning to work after having a child is a big step for all mums and dads, whether you’re eager to resume your career or have made the decision for other, more functional reasons. But this research highlights that the return to work can bring pleasure in lots of small – and unexpected – ways.

“We love our children, but we also love uninterrupted toilet breaks and not having to microwave our coffee. Our focus is to support parents to make the most of those moments, safe in the knowledge that their little ones are in good hands.”

The research also revealed there is lots that childcare providers can do to ease any concerns new parents may have about settling their child into a nursery or childminder.

It found 46% of parents said regular updates on their child’s progress during the day provided reassurance while at work, as well as receiving photos (36%) and clear communication with their childcare provider (37%).

More than eight in 10 (82%) parents who use a nursery also feel it positively benefits their child. Among the ways they do so are developing social skills (50%), building confidence (33%), and encouraging them to try new activities (23%).

Flexibility from employers is also important for working parents, as the study also found the majority (82%) of returning parents wouldn’t work somewhere that didn’t offer flexibility around their children or childcare.

Conducted via OnePoll, the research found the most valued support offered by employers includes emotional understanding from managers (23%). As well as paid time off for child sickness (27%) and the ability to work from home last-minute when required (22%).

Busy Bees’ Gill Jones, which has released a guide for preparing families for life as they return to work after maternity or paternity leave, added: “Parents – and their children – deserve support from their employers and childcare providers to ensure the transition is a positive experience for everyone.

“We understand how important it is for families to strike a balance between spending quality time together and developing their careers. Having the reassurance of professional early years experts, along with regular updates on their little ones’ wellbeing, allows parents to focus on their professional lives safe in the knowledge they’re doing the best for their child and themselves.”

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