Thursday 19th October 2023

My Return to Work

Victoria Ogilvie Hodge from JLL shares her experience of returning to work after maternity leave...

My Return to Work…

By Victoria Ogilvie Hodge, Senior Surveyor, Value and Risk Advisory - Affordable Housing, JLL

It felt surreal to open my daybook on Monday 11 September, and look back at the last entry 10 months prior, Friday 4th November 2022, five days before my daughter was born. Thinking back to what I did on that last day, I had emailed my clients informing them of my imminent departure and enjoyed a team lunch. I then said goodbye to my colleagues, my arms weighed down by gift bags brimming with beautiful baby clothes.  

I had no idea of what my life would look like with a baby. Further still, my return to work was scheduled for September 2023 which at the time, felt like a million miles away.  

Before I knew it, summer was on its way out and September rolled in. After 10 months of one on one time with my daughter, a noticeable change was upon me. In my career to date, I have not taken more than 10 days off consecutively, so I felt somewhat trepidatious on my first day back after such a protracted period and big change to my life.  

Just over a month in and I am pleased to say that despite my fears, I can still type, I can still use a computer and I even remember some of the Excel tricks I have taught myself in recent years! I was welcomed back by my manager who was incredibly supportive throughout my maternity leave and continues to be on my return. After eight years at JLL, I am lucky enough to know my colleagues so well and felt such a sense of warmth coming back.  

I have always believed in the mentoring process; I count myself lucky to have an invaluable mentor within JLL, who has provided excellent counsel. Likewise, JLL has a Working Parents & Caregivers Network, a vital resource with a variety of helpful material and a buddy system designed to help with the various adjustments brought about by becoming a working parent.

I am looking forward to seeing what this next stage of my working life brings. No doubt there will be challenges as I navigate the combination of work and family time. I feel lucky to be part of the Affordable Housing sector which has always felt like a family-orientated side of our business. As an example of this, my clients have been hugely supportive, both before and on my return with some thoughtful messages received. I plan on doing all I can to set an example to my younger colleagues demonstrating that it is possible to juggle both family and a job you enjoy to the highest level.  

Finally, I thank all parents before me who have paved the way to make the property industry a better place for working parents.  

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