As if having a baby isn’t daunting enough, women are faced with what to do about work both immediately before and immediately after delivery. Traditional advice would suggest continuing to work up until the due date, staying completely absent from workplaces and emails during the leave, and returning to the same capacity when the FMLA clock runs out. As with everything at Office Hours, we challenge the status quo and, in many instances, reject the traditional work model in favor of greater flexibility, maximized productivity, and increased work-life compatibility.
Prior to delivery, ask for a modified work schedule.
Before you start the FMLA clock two weeks before it’s necessary, consider speaking with your employer about a modified work schedule until delivery. Whether part-time from home or a front-loaded work week, it’s important to both establish boundaries early and prove to your employer that a modified work arrangement won’t affect performance or output.
When the FMLA clock starts to tick, consider intermittent FMLA.
Another great way to achieve integration between work and life is to ask for intermittent FMLA. There is nothing balanced about ceasing all work for 12 weeks and returning to the office full speed, full time on week 13. By integrating your work with some intermittent, intentional time off, the shifts between roles will be far less tumultuous. To boot, your team benefits from not losing an entire person in the workflow and you won’t miss out on as much pay, since the traditional maternity leaves are usually unpaid.
When baby is born, pitch returning to work in a flexible arrangement.
The research is clear that when our workplaces give us the freedom and ability to work remotely, productivity skyrockets. Check out our e-guide, “Reimagining Office Hours, Breaking Free from the 9-5” for a step-by-step guide on how to ask for a flexible work arrangement and how to be successful in that work design.