There are many reasons for taking a break from the workforce: to have a baby, look after family members, or recover from a redundancy or illness. Whatever the reason, returning to work can be challenging. Here are some tips that may help give you the confidence you’re after.
1. How are your finances?
Before starting a new job, or returning to a previous role, take the opportunity to review your financial situation. Are all your bills paid? How good is your debt management? You should also update your budget to account for your new income, keeping in mind any changes in expenses such as child care, and ensuring you have savings in case of emergency. This is also a great time to think about income protection insurance.
2. Check your superannuation
Your superannuation savings may have stalled from lack of employer contributions. If you’d like to try to catch up, there are options. For example, you can salary sacrifice part of your pay or you may be eligible for the government’s co-contribution scheme.
Spouse contributions may also help, and under the superannuation reforms that came into effect on 1 July 2017, anyone with a partner who earns less than $40,000 can contribute to their super and may receive a tax offset in return.
3. Stay in touch
While you’re still on leave, there are a few things you can do to give yourself the best chance of transitioning back into the workforce successfully.
If you plan to stay in your industry or role, make sure you are up to date on the latest trends and insights. Keeping in touch with colleagues and your network is also a great way to show you are engaged in your area.
You may also take the opportunity to learn a new skill, gain experience or take a course. This may indicate to potential employers that you’re eager to continue learning. Remember to update your resume afterwards.
4. Talk to your employer
Many people returning to work will require flexible workplace arrangements, such as the ability to work from home or only for certain periods of time. Talk to your employer about this early on, then you can create an arrangement that works for both of you.
If you are seeking a new position and know you will need to work from home some days, research employers’ workplace flexibility arrangements. Is there a work-from-home policy? Is work–life balance encouraged? Seek out companies that offer these policies and keep an eye out for organisations with a return-to-work support program.
Some people find that slowly easing back into work sets up a stronger foundation for long term employment. This may mean going back one day a week, then increasing this to two, three or four days. If you think this may work for you, discuss a trial arrangement with your employer.
Return to work with confidence
Returning to work after extended leave can be daunting – but it can also be a great opportunity to develop your skills, connect with a community and achieve new goals.
Reach out to your networks and see how others managed the transtion. There’s great groups available like Busines Chicks who offer fabulous support to their members.
There are also many financial aspects to consider, so speaking to a financial adviser who understands the latest reforms and your unique situation may give you peace of mind. I’d love to help!