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Returning to work at Which? Catherine shares her experience after a lockdown maternity leave

Category: Returners Programme, Return to work, Returner, Returning to work scheme, Which?

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Catherine Waton, Which?’s Head of Risk, Governance and Regulatory Compliance, started her maternity leave on 12 March 2020, just a few days before everyone was sent home from the office because of the pandemic. Catherine shares her experience of taking maternity leave in lockdown and returning to work in a very different world. 

Catherine Waton

Can you describe your maternity leave for us and how the lockdowns impacted your experience?
 "I’d describe my maternity leave as an emotional rollercoaster! I went into hospital in labour by myself, didn’t have the support of friends and family in those early sleepless weeks, and the girls and I missed out on the baby social scene. On the upside we’ve spent a lot of time outdoors enjoying nature, found new ways to use technology to build better relationships with family and friends and keep them up to date."

How do you think the organisation moved on after a year of working from home?
"The culture feels really different to me - faster paced and more focused. I’m really excited about where we’re going as an organisation and about the role that we can all play in achieving this."

Any tips for other mums? What has been helpful to you coming back?
"People at Which? being really thoughtful and caring in catching me up on things that have changed and other key pieces of work has really helped - giving me the opportunity to ask really basic, and at times probably also silly questions, and giving me a chance to shadow some key meetings. Focusing on key priorities and forgiving myself if I can’t get through everything that I want to in my (currently 4-day) week. (I keep a handwritten list of my priorities each week, and I cross check it with my diary regularly to make sure I’ve got enough time to focus on the really important things).
And finding ways to connect with people at work in different ways, using Slack and Hangouts for more informal conversations to replace those spontaneous chats I used to have in the kitchen over a cuppa."

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