Cookie Consent by Free Privacy Policy Generator

Elena: Returning to work

I left my previous role in executive search in December 2019 and had only intended to take a short break but by March 2020 Covid-19 had arrived and with a young son who was starting school that year it made sense for me to focus on supporting him through starting reception and the various stints of home-schooling. So, whilst an unplanned break, it was a very well timed one.  


Deciding the time was right  

Towards the end of 2022, with my youngest child now over a year old, I felt the time was right to return to work. My previous company had been very small, with just two of us in the London office, so I wanted to work for a much larger corporation this time as I wanted somewhere with the structure and support to grow and develop a career. A friend who worked in the tax team at Grant Thornton suggested I look at the roles within the firm and was really positive about the culture and what it’s like to work here. The firm were running a Returner Programme at the time, specifically for people like me who had been out of the workplace for a number of years, and it was the perfect opportunity. 

Returning to work  

It was quite a change returning to the workplace after three years, but overall, I found the transition quite smooth. As I joined the firm as part of a structured returners programme, alongside three others, we were supported through a third-party organisation and had various check-ins with them through the year focusing on helping to build our confidence and relationships, setting goals and just generally the adjustment to returning to work.  

As I was changing careers as well as returning to work, there was quite a lot to learn about the processes and systems, but I could call on knowledge from when I used to work in a bank to help things make sense a bit more. And I was supported by my team throughout and given the time to pick things up and really learn the technical elements of the role.  

The culture here is a big reason why the transition was so smooth, everyone is supportive and work life balance is really important, various members of my teamwork condensed or part-time hours. As well as being able to work from home some days, I’m also able to be flexible in terms of my hours, which means I can do little things like pick my children up from school or take the dog for a walk. That said, I do enjoy being in the office and try to go in a couple of times a week to work alongside colleagues.  

Whilst it’s only been a year, I’ve been built some good relationships within the firm, outside of my team, and have been given the opportunity to join different working groups. I’ve become the team champion for one of the programmes we use – which is a great way building experience and meeting other people across the firm – and it’s great to be able to add value through my knowledge of the systems.  

My advice to others 

If someone is reading this and thinking about returning to work after a break, my advice would be to give it a go, but to be gentle to yourself when you return. Don’t expect to know everything straight away, it will take time even if you have worked in the sector before, and no one will expect you to know everything either. It will take some time to settle into new routines, but you will find your way and it’s worth it. And Grant Thornton is the perfect place to return to, everyone is really supportive, and happy to help. It’s a great place to work.