Close site search

Simply start typing to search Changeboard and then press enter

How easy is it for your people to return after a career break?

Posted on by from Regus

Is your business helping people return to work?

Helping professionals back into work following a career break is an issue under the spotlight once again following the budget announcement that £5m will go towards extending return to work schemes to all levels of management.  How this funding trickles down and impacts remains to be seen but the intention is to give those who have taken long career breaks the opportunity to refresh their skills and build professional networks.
Coming back to work after a break – for whatever reason – can be a difficult transition.  Trends and skills evolve quickly in many industries, and internal roles shift and adapt.  But in many cases, these returnees are valued professionals with much to offer. According to data from KPMG there are 96m skilled women around the world aged between 30 and 54 who are currently on career breaks. Of these, some 55m have gained experience to middle management level or above. If they all returned to the workforce, the result would be a £151bn boost to the global economy each year.

Some businesses are ahead of the game, providing training, mentoring and networking to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.  However, our own data suggests that such support is not widespread. Just 7% of UK firms said that they are seeing more mums returning to the workforce than last year.

Making flexible working work

What the handful of forward-thinkers all agree upon is that flexibility has to be a key consideration. Whether other support initiatives are provided or not, asking professionals to return to a fixed-hours, fixed-location job after taking time out is not always workable. 

Employers must be more open to offering flexible hours and flexible locations to work from. There is certainly no shortage of available workspace to choose from. The UK boasts one of the finest networks of flexible workspace in the world, environments that enable returning professionals to remain closer to home and to turn up, plug-in and be productive. Importantly, this workspace gets people out of the home environment and away from potential distractions, and back into a business-like atmosphere.  

The challenge for employers is not so much logistical. More, it is attitudinal, a change in mindset from measuring performance by visibility and time spent at the desk to measuring on output and results.  This may require employers to make changes to reporting structures and to adopt new management techniques.  It is about placing more trust in the hands of the employee, showing confidence in their professionalism and flexing the job around the person rather than asking the person to fit an outdated and rigid structure.

With the budget announcement bringing the issue of returning employees to the fore once again the onus is on businesses to re-evaluate working models and to position to ensure that skilled employees are not discouraged to return.  Indeed, the concept of flexible working is one that appeals to employees across the board – not just those returning from an extended period of time-off. If the focus on returning employees triggers a change to a more flexible approach for all employees, the result will be a workforce that is happier, more motivated and more equipped to produce its best work.

Richard Morris

By Richard Morris

Richard is UK, CEO of Regus

Get content similar to this article

You can cancel email alerts at any time

Content by email

Thanks! You have been subscribed to receive emails about the following subjects.

Get more with Changeboard

Changeboard is a global HR jobs site, career advice resource and events platform to help HR and recruitment professionals find the perfect job to progress their careers. We're here to help you change the way you work.

Register now

Changeboard Magazine

Changeboard is read by more than 22,000 senior leaders in print and 85,000 online.

  • Get Changeboard Magazine

  • Get Changeboard Magazine
    on mobile

  • Get Changeboard Magazine
    in print

Subscribe to Changeboard today for:

  • Engaging and relevant decision-support content
  • Exclusive interviews with CEOs & HR leaders
  • In-depth profiles, case studies & insights from progressive senior HR & resourcing practitioners
  • Stimulating career advice, delivered in bitesized chunks to help busy professionals advance their careers efficiently.
Get the Changeboard magazine
Get Changeboard Magazine

Job search saved

Your search has been successfully saved.

Register or log in to manage job alerts.