A year to reflect – Head of Business Growth and Development, Charlotte Heaton

Head of Business Growth and Development, Charlotte Heaton shares her experience of the last year and what life was like on maternity leave and returning to work during the midst of third lockdown and during a global pandemic.

“Although Covid-19 has presented challenges there have definitely been positives for me personally and professionally. Lockdown has meant since returning to work I have been able to enjoy more family time with a new born, with no commuting and lunch hours at home, the bonding time for us as a family has been able to be extended and I feel very lucky, especially with the lovely weather we have had.

This slower pace of life, for someone with a diary full of plans, meant rather than darting from place to place our day was filled with spending time with Ella, taking our daily walks together, baking and playing with Ella filled the day.

I have been able to focus on myself and have lost two stone through Yoga and PE with Joe.

The negative side of this is not seeing family or having the support we would have had ordinarily. Not being able to share our baby’s milestones with family and friends or her missing out on bonding with other family and friends like she would have in ‘normal’ circumstances.

When I imagined returning to work after maternity leave I was expecting to come back to work and be in an office full of friends, be able to coffee and lunch breaks and have ‘adult’ conversations. Instead I have gone from being at home with a baby to being at home with a laptop.

The reality was different returning from maternity leave, leaving my daughter and returning to working life after a year off was a huge transition for me. Before Covid-19 I had always been office-based so learning to work from home and manage fully remote teams was new to me.

As part of my new role I look after the internal recruitment and this situation has actually offered huge benefits to our internal recruitment strategy as it has meant we can attract talent from further afield with this new approach to flexible, remote working. Saying that, I am very much am looking forward to being back and the buzz of the office environment when we can return safely soon.

I am looking forward to being able to take Ella Swimming, going to the farm and Zoo with her and seeing family and friends. It has taught me a lot about myself and I have realised I actually like less plans and less structure – which is  something I never thought I would hear myself say.”