Getting back to work after a break is possible

Marta Vázquez    (Posted: September 30, 2019)
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Reincorporating employees who have been out of the workplace for a while requires some consideration. Flexible work helps. Do you want to know how?

There are many reasons why people have a break in their working life; a sabbatical year for a personal project, maternity leave, illness, taking care of a family member… Once this period is over, further questions arise: is getting back into the workplace viable? Will it negatively affect work performance? How does the break affect the professional career path?

In September and October, when the school year begins, recruitment increases. In the last four years, average recruitment in September is 14,8% above the annual average, whereas in October the average stands at 15,4%, according to data from Adecco Group.

Returning to work after maternity

More than half of women (55%) get back to work and the work schedule they had before their pregnancies, according to World Labor Organization statistics. The remainder, either get back to their jobs part-time or with reduced working hours (35%) or give up work altogether (7%).

However, 40.5% of women ask for unpaid leave to take care of their children, according to data from the Ministry of Equality in Spain. This data implies that there is a minimum time in which women are not working, but, after this, they need to return to their jobs, whether it be full time or part-time with flexibility.

What is the best way of getting talent back to work after a maternity leave?

Due to the need for an adequate work-life balance, many professionals opt for projects with flexibility. Breastfeeding, fatigue, family needs, among others, all require time. For this reason, companies who are committed to flexible work in order to improve work-life balance, tend to be more attractive for talented women. The most appropriate flexibility measures for women who return to work after maternity would be:

  • Flex start and end times. Being able to have flexible work shifts and schedules promotes a good work-life balance and well-being.
  • Promote flexible work. Part-time work, reduced working hours or objective-based working are ways of helping women returning to work from their maternity leave.
  • Enable space and time for breast milk extraction. Being flexible also involves understanding and helping workers. Giving regular breaks for breastfeeding, doctor visits etc. is an excellent way of doing so.
  • Have access to health care services. Kindergarten in the workplace or care services would also help greatly.
  • Facilitate teleworking. Labor flexibility improves productivity.

Having the confidence of the team to work from home is a measure that brings in profits for both the worker and the company.

Programmes such as the ReConnect Talent launched by Vodafone, which aims to help people with professional experience who have been unemployed for a while, or the fellowship for women from Banco Santander, which wants to reincorporate women who left their jobs to take care of their children, are two clear examples of how companies can create programmes to help incorporation back into the workplace.

Returning to work after a personal project

Nowadays the desire to have a break from working life is becoming more and more common, for example a sabbatical year, a trip, a personal project etc. There are several reasons for this: stress, the search for a new job opportunity, the undertaking of a new professional or personal project, learning a new language, travelling…

As demonstrated by Edreams in 2017, 71% of Spanish people would like to take a sabbatical year. France, the United States and Italy are the countries that provide the best conditions for workers wishing to take time off, as they can take up to one year without losing their salary. Moreover, Sweden gives its workers 6 months off to have time to start their own ventures.

The added value of employees who have taken a professional break

Sabbatical years, according to experts, are important for employees to manage their time and to grow professionally and personally. In addition, the break can help the worker to be less stressed, reduce burnout and to provide new ideas and skills such as languages or self-awareness.

Giving flexibility and confidence in the worker helps talented professionals who have taken a break from the workplace reincorporate back into jobs.

Returning to work after an illness

Another reason why there can be a prolonged break in someone’s professional career is because of illness (either their own or of a family member). In any case, it is important (when choosing a new professional project) to consider both someone’s abilities and what type of company to work in. Suggestions from the European Agency for Safety and Health at work can also help in these cases. It is important when getting back into the workforce:

  • To know and transmit your own personal, physical and psychological challenges. The return to professional activity after an illness has many positive effects. Despite this, we must always take into account each person’s condition in order to be realistic about their professional performance.
  • Follow-up regularly. Personal and progressive follow-ups with the work team is a good idea to check their progression in the workplace.
  • Facilitate work-life balance and flexible work. Having regular breaks, time for personal calls or time for medical appointments, as well as telecommuting will help the return to work after a sick leave.
  • Promote self-care. Work is a way to move forward and can play an active role in the recovery and implementation of a healthy lifestyle.

Benefits of labour reintegration

For both the company and the worker, resuming professional activity after a break has multiple benefits:

  • Incorporating new professional perspectives.
  • Personal maturity
  • New professional skills
  • Positive attitude towards the new job.

If you want to find motivated, independent employees who want to join the labour market again, contact us, we will advise you. If you are a professional who has taken a turn in your career or has taken a break in your professional life and you want to find a flexible job position, inform us of your needs, we will help find the perfect position for you.