Whether you’re returning to work after a break to look after the children or have wound up a business, there are three things that you should consider before agreeing new terms for a job (old or new).

Having flexibility and control mean different things to different women; and likewise employers. Working flexibly could mean anything from working staggered hours, part-time, full-time but working from home (either fully or partially), job sharing, compressed workweeks…there are quite a few different options.

One working mum’s working week can look like total chaos to another mum, so it’s important to try to come to a workable agreement with your employer. One that gives you and your family the necessary work-life balance, as well as enabling you to perform your role as though you worked like the rest of your colleagues.

Before you start asking for a change in hours, or a change in the way you work, think about what you think would work for you. Would you have the necessary flexibility in your change if your child is unwell, or your childcare lets you down? What about when your child starts school – will your employer be open to another change in your work pattern, or is it worth factoring that into how you work from the outset?

We all have bills to pay, but there’s not much worse than spending hours doing a job you hate. The fact that you’ve changed your working hours doesn’t mean that you expect to be given mundane tasks that someone with your skills and experience should be dishing out to the intern. But if you don’t have a clear and agreed plan this could happen…you wouldn’t be the first.

What about the people you’re working with? If you were moved to a different department, would that have an impact on how you feel about going to work? Sometimes, the work you do can be as a dull as dishwater, but the company you’re surrounded with makes all the difference and helps get you through the day.

You know your worth, and if you’ve done your homework, your employer should know it, too. Just because you need some flexibility in your workweek doesn’t mean that you should settle for below market pay. You’ll find that your workload will probably increase, if anything, so make sure you don’t settle for less pay out of guilt.

Lots of mums seem to feel that they need to agree to less pay because they are being given the flexibility they need to work around their family commitments…this should not be the case. The reduction in pay should only come into the conversation if you are working less hours.

We have numerous articles on negotiating a pay rise, or agreeing your salary after a job offer. If you feel you don’t have the confidence to get what you deserve, please read these articles before you get ripped off.

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