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Agnieszka Czmyr-Kaczanowska, co-founder of the MamoPracuj.pl foundation and website, says that returning to work is difficult for most women. Thousands of conversations with readers show that no matter how long the break is, it almost always causes a decrease in confidence. We wrongly feel unqualified and unprepared.

Meanwhile, not only a woman should care for the smooth and possibly stress-free return to professional duties. After all, an employee who feels supported performs her duties better, which is beneficial to her manager as well as her team-mates.

How to support a woman who returns to work?

If you’re the boss:

Create a good atmosphere with regard to parenting.

Example: The State Street Bank Polska runs the ‘Working Parents Club’ which supports mothers and fathers at the stage of waiting for birth. Managers are trained in talking to them and planning the absence of a future mother or father.

Encourage the employee to use mentor support.

Example: Mentoring programmes are run by foundations such as MamoPracuj.pl, but also by other organisations that support women. By participating in such programmes, it’s easier to realise that the years spent with children are neither a CV gap nor a black hole.

Be patient.

Example: After returning to work, a woman needs time to get back on track and adapt to the changes that have taken place in the company. If she doesn’t perform as well as you expect, don’t criticise or think ill of her. In recent months or years, her life’s looked completely different and she needs time to settle in.

If you’re a colleague:

Introduce your colleague to the new reality.

Example: Work organisation might have changed, new people could have joined or there may have been other minor changes at the company. Familiarise your colleague with any novelties.

Be understanding.

Example: Young mothers often feel they’re in the spotlight. The child didn’t let them sleep well at night, they come to work with under eye circles and everything is slipping out of their hands. Therefore, if your colleague takes another day off because her child is sick, don’t mutter under your breath. She’s already stressed enough.

“Tenderness and freedom. Let's build balanced relationships” is a campaign run by Kulczyk Foundation along with “Wysokie Obcasy” and “Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation”.

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