Mums and dads disclose 10 best things about returning to work after parental leave

A family
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

A survey of 750 parents who have recently returned from parental leave revealed that a change of scenery and more structured days are among the unexpected joys they experience upon resuming work after having a baby. The study also found that new mums and dads relish the diversity of getting back to their careers (12 per cent), as well as the opportunity to dress up for work again (nine per cent).

A significant 69 per cent of respondents confessed that going to work provides a welcome respite from domestic life, yet nearly half (49 per cent) eagerly anticipate reuniting with their offspring at the end of the working day. An impressive 80 per cent enjoy the company of their colleagues, and 72 per cent feel that returning to work has increased their appreciation for the time spent with their children.

Gill Jones, group chief quality officer at Busy Bees, which commissioned the study, commented: "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 study also highlighted the significant role childcare providers can play in alleviating new parents' worries about their child's transition into nursery or childminder care. It revealed that 46 per cent of parents found regular updates on their child's progress throughout the day reassuring while they were at work, along with receiving photos (36 per cent) and maintaining clear communication with their childcare provider (37 per cent).

People in office
Flexibility from employers is also important for working parents, as the study also found the majority (82 per cent) of returning parents wouldn’t work somewhere that didn’t offer flexibility around their children or childcare. -Credit:Getty Images

Furthermore, over eight out of ten (82 per cent) parents who use a nursery believe it has a positive impact on their child. The benefits include fostering social skills (50 per cent), boosting confidence (33 per cent), and encouraging them to engage in new activities (23 per cent).

The research also underscored the importance of employer flexibility for working parents, as it found that the majority (82 per cent) of parents returning to work would not consider employment in a place that did not offer flexibility around their children or childcare.

The survey, conducted via OnePoll, discovered that the most appreciated support provided by employers includes emotional understanding from managers (23 per cent), paid time off for child sickness (27 per cent), and the option to work from home at short notice when necessary (22 per cent). Gillian Jones from Busy Bees, which has published a guide for preparing families for life as they return to work after maternity or paternity leave, stated: "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."

Here are the top 10 things working parents enjoy about returning to work:

  1. Adult conversations

  2. A change of scenery

  3. Engaging their brain in professional tasks

  4. Having more structure to the day

  5. Feeling more like themselves again

  6. Enjoying a cup of tea or coffee while it's still hot

  7. Having more variety to their day

  8. Not having to look at an untidy house

  9. Going to the toilet in peace

  10. Getting dressed up