Sorry for the radio silence!
What a year! I suppose I better start by explaining why we have been so quiet over the last almost a year. Well for a start we have been growing the team; in more ways than one. I have been off on maternity leave. Last October, my second son was born. It’s been an exciting, challenging and very special time. Maternity leave when you’re running your own business is quite different to when you are an employee.
When I had my elder son, someone covered my role while I was away on maternity leave. I left them an instruction manual of my job and ensured they understood what needed to be done, when. They had contact details for my boss so any problems they could reach them. I’d emailed HR and they knew my plans about maternity leave. They would arrange my pay. On my last day of work (two days before my son was due), I said my farewells for a year and off I went. My role was covered. My boss was happy. I was about to meet my baby.
This time it was a very different matter. [Let’s not talk about being pregnant, giving birth and after care in a global pandemic!] For a start the practicalities of maternity leave are very different – arranging maternity pay is much more confusing. No simple email to HR to say when you’re off. But once I had got over that. I needed to arrange cover for my work. I had a range of trusted colleagues, whom I had worked with over the years to ask to cover writing, comms and PR for our clients as needed. This worked well and ensured continuity. Al could oversee work and do the client liaison side of things.
The good thing about working for yourself is often flexibility and during maternity leave this proved to be very true. If I was needed, I was just a phone call away. And those phone calls could happen anytime not just Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. For me this was a huge plus as I could arrange calls for when my sons were in bed or at times my husband would be around to take care of his kids.
This flexibility has also been so useful for me in coming back to work. I am now back working with We Are Comma one day a week to smooth the transition for my family. As we get used to things, I will be back working more hours but this flexibility is so valuable with young children. Unlike a job as an employee, I am not forced in fixed hours each week as soon as I return. I can take things slow but if they are going well, I can ramp my hours up quickly. Likewise, when the inevitable – with two young kids – sick days happen I can be flexible in my hours so I can care for them.
I mentioned our team has grown in more ways than one. As well as trusted colleagues joining us on the comms, PR and writing side of things, we have also had Dan join our team to strengthen and add to our web offering. Mark has also joined us a graphic designer to expand our capacities in this area. Read more about Dan, Mark and the rest of the team here.
So, what have I missed? What’s been your biggest news story of the last year?
Photos by Jayne Runacres