How can working parents refocus after the school summer holidays?
With most schools having 6 weeks off over the summer, this has become a challenge facing many working parents across recruitment (and all employed sectors); it is likely your desk has “ticked over” as opposed to excelled and I would like to impart some tips to those who want to return in September with purpose, a plan and a strategy for success.
It is likely that as a working parent, you will have had to utilise summer camps, clubs and grandparents to keep your desk active. My own summer has looked like this:
- Weeks 1 and 2 the girls were in summer school. I worked 9-3 daily and then tried my best to turn
- Week 3 they spend combination with family and friends and some days I had 10-5, others I
- Weeks 4 and 6 we went on holiday and I didn’t work at all.
- Week 5 they went away with their dad so I worked full time.
Maybe my summer was the norm for many of you reading it? I have managed to create some great opportunities for my candidates during these weeks but there is no doubt that August is a tricky month anyway, navigating the availability of decision makers who are also spending time with their children also!
How do you ensure you hit the ground running in September to maximise the effort you have put in over the summer? Like many, I always feel a little compromised that I am neither being a proper mum nor a proper recruiter. A charlatan to both camps but I do what I have to and my tip is to try and switch off the other brain when you are in that mode: so when you are with the kids, be mum/dad. When you are in work, be the recruiter.
Here are a few returning to work tips.
The week before:
- Text update with your live candidates to see where they are up to so you know who is ready to get going when you start back.
- Explain you are still off but want to prioritise their search on your return.
- Thank them for their patience.
- Email your clients to ensure you know whose jobs are a priority and ask for any updates on what has altered their side so you know exactly where you stand when you come in.
- Update your social media to say you are looking forward to coming back in on X date and share it a couple of times so people know when you are available again. It gets you back in people’s psyche and more importantly back on their timeline.
The day before:
- Write your list of who you need to update in order of priority.
- Activity that has happened in your absence.
- New enquiries from candidates and clients – respond and see when they are available to speak on your first day.
- Anything outstanding from before your absence, update.
- Set your goal for day 1.
- Get a good nights sleep 🙂
- Do be firm with yourself of what is achievable when you get back in and stick to your goals.
- Do catch up with people and ask about their holidays but keep it succinct so you don’t bore your colleagues by hearing the same bungee jumping/crab catching/sunburn story too many times.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you missed out on placing someone whilst you are away. These things happen and you can’t work 52 weeks a year.
- Do make a note of what you have learned from this summer and transcribe it into your diary for next July so you can remind yourself of your own tips.
- Do enjoy the time you have had off and come back full of energy and enthusiasm to be the success you deserve to be
Have you got any further tips to aid recruiters who are also working parents for how to be refocused after the long summer holidays? Do you take the whole summer off? What works best for you?
Wishing you all luck for the autumn term!