I have always been conscientious, I even got awarded most conscientious Brownie when I was 8 years old, it’s that built into my make-up. I have prided myself on working hard going that extra mile, throughout my working life and resulti ng in my current position in Corporate Communications. When I became a mummy to daughter number 1, it was a massive wake-up call – running a small team, rallying senior spokespeople and journalists, ‘PR-ing’ stuff - is nothing compared to the level of hard work required to be mummy.
I am just returning to work (first day!) from maternity leave with daughter number 2. This second time round I had post-natal depression for the first 3 months of my leave which meant I wasn’t really able to enjoy my little ones as much as I perhaps had anticipated – that coupled with a crazy 2 year old made things that little bit more interesting… don’t get me started on the joys of potty training – takes multi-tasking to a whole new level! So suffice to say returning to work after 7 months off kind of crept up on me – just as I started to feel less murderous and the girls are getting more interesting.
Luckily, my return to work for a big corporate isn’t as hard as for me, as I imagine it is for others. Luckily, I work for a company that uses video conferencing like they use a desk phone – as the main way to communicate (can you tell I work in communications?).
Which brings me back to being conscientious… and a great multi-tasker (aren’t all mums?) knowing that there were several important meetings / discussions taking place whilst I was off on maternity leave, I wanted to make sure I kept my finger on the pulse. But not to the detriment of my new little family…always a cake and eat it too type me!
So what I suspect would have been an arduous task to keep in touch with my employer (finding childcare, packing numerous bags, trekking to an office), was just ridiculously easy. Both times I have been on maternity leave, I have been able to stay in touch with my boss (based in the US) and my team based here in the UK through video calls. Which is making my return to work that little less painful.
Why do I feel the need to talk about this? Simply because without being able to make video calls and having access to this technology, I would not be prepared to go back to work now (earlier than most in the UK, my youngest is nearly 7 months) or be able to keep on top of things to the level I would feel comfortable.
Naturally once I get back in to the swing of work, it will also help me to be successful as both mummy and in the office. For me having access to this technology is a no-brainer and should be the norm for corporations – it’s not a just a luxury any more, the luxury is the fact you can have your cake and eat it too…just saying!
When you are a first-time mom, it seems like everyone has a pearl of wisdom to share with you. From teething remedies to proper car seat installation, my friends, coworkers and family members had advice on every topic imaginable. But when the time finally came to head back to work and leave my newborn, Jacob, no single tip or trick made me feel at ease. How would I balance my baby with my career? Well, with Mother’s Day approaching, and well into my first year in motherhood, it’s my turn to hand off some advice to all the moms out there.
Video is your friend.
Working in an environment that champions video, I’ve always had the flexibility to telecommute. But never have I appreciated it more than these past eight months. Here’s why:
It’s a time saver. Every moment is precious and I know that sometimes moms wish there were 28 hours in a day so we could get everything done. By using videoconferencing, there’s no commute, which means I am saving a lot of time. This extra hour I have in my day can be used however I want: cooking dinner with my husband (occasionally), meeting up with a girlfriend (rarely), or getting some extra snuggle time with Jacob (regularly).
My position requires a bit of travel and I was hesitant at first about leaving Jacob. However, thanks to video (specifically RealPresence Mobile) we have found ways to make it manageable. My husband Andrew and I chat about our day and I get in my “mom time” with Jacob, the best of both worlds – doing what I need to do for my job while spending quality time with the family. It definitely helps curb homesickness.
By using video to connect with coworkers, I was able to ease in and out of maternity leave seamlessly. The way that I interacted via video remained consistent from before and after I had Jacob. In fact, the transition was so seamless that some of my coworkers never even realized I was pregnant! They were accustomed to seeing my face day in and day out, but it was hard for them to believe their eyes when I finally stood up to show them my growing belly.
Polycom has tons of mothers (and grandmothers) in its workforce and I can guarantee that video conferencing has made a significant impact on their lives and balancing family and career. Do any other Moms out there have tips or advice they can share? Please share them with us by leaving a comment below. Happy Mother’s Day!