A report from Visions of Britain 2020 on ‘Working Women’ has illustrated that many obstacles women feel are barriers to their progression and development in the workplace. These include pay and equality with men, and issues around motherhood and childcare costs.

One of these obstacles needn’t be taking maternity leave argues Chris Parke, CEO of Talking Talent, an executive coaching company specialising in maternity and paternity coaching.

He comments: “Being pregnant is an exciting time in a woman’s life, but announcing the news in your workplace can be a daunting prospect. Many women wonder how the news will be received, what colleagues will think, the impact it will have on their career and their prospects. However, by communicating in the right way can make all the difference to how the news is received and how women feel about their future career with a company.”

Here are Chris Parke’s top tips for announcing a pregnancy:

  1. Firstly, understand your own feelings and concerns. How do you feel about being pregnant? What impact do you think it may have on your career? What are your concerns about telling work?
  2. Identify the key people you need to tell at work. And, think about the best timings to give them your news. Decide who you want to tell personally, for example your boss, and make sure you speak to them first.
  3. Decide what information you want to share, and only share with them what you are comfortable telling in relation to your plans regarding your leave and return. Remember, you are not legally obliged to advise your work of your plans to return until two months before you go back.
  4. Be clear about the message you want to give. How do you think your boss will react? Plan for different scenarios, and manage unforeseen responses.
  5. Make sure you go into the meeting with a positive attitude. Be prepared to answer as many questions as possible, but – remember – it is fine to say you don’t have the answer to a certain question, and that you will come back to them.
  6. If your career is important to you, then be clear in giving the message that you have every intention of returning to work, and that you would like to keep the lines of communication open in terms of when you will go back.
  7. Agree with your line manager, or boss, when your colleagues and clients should be informed. Again, think about the reactions of your clients, and consider how you will ensure a smooth handover for them. They need to be reassured that the levels of service will not be impacted, or compromised in any way.
  8. Suggest regular catch up meetings with all stakeholders prior to taking your leave.
  9. Remember, at all times, to remain professional.