School may be out for summer, but are you set for a return back to work after your maternity leave or a break, raising your child?

Being taken seriously in the workplace does have a lot to do with skill and experience, but looking frumpy won’t win you any accolades either.

While waltzing into the first meeting at work in a power suit and a pair of Louboutins may make you look like a Joan Collins wannabe who’s stuck in the Dynasty and Dallas years, finding yourself before returning to work needs some careful consideration of a number of things.

1. Dress for success

Anything that looks mumsy, frumpy and is an attempt to hide your new lumps should be packed off to the charity shop. The aim is to reignite feelings of fabulousness no matter how confident you are in your new post-baby body.

If you’re not sure how to dress with confidence, you can hire an image consultant to give you a once over. Or head to your local department store and ask to see a personal shopper. You don;t have to buy everything they put in the fitting room – you just need to work out how to dress confidently for your big return to the office.

2. Spruce yourself up

Like clothes, getting a new hairstyle, or just a trim or a colour, and your nails done can make a huge difference in the confidence stakes.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on this, look for Groupon or Amazon Local deals, or ring a local college to see if they have any appointments in the hair and beauty department for students (under supervision of teachers who are professionals) to beautify you! It’ll cost you next to nothing in comparison to spruce yourself up.

3. Get a female MOT

When you return to work, it will be harder to get time off for medical appointments while you juggle childcare and everything else that life throws at you. So, before you clock back in, get up to date with your dental checkups, eye tests, cervical smear tests (even if you hate having them done!). It’ll be one less thing to worry about getting time off for when you start back at work.

4. Stay in touch with your colleagues

Find time in between the nappy changes, the winding, the sleep deprivation and the coffee mornings to catch up with your colleagues. Whether it’s in person or on the blower, try to keep in touch and up to date with what’s going on, so you don’t feel like you’re in a time warp when you return to work. By law, you have Keep in Touch Days (KIT), so you can use these to do the odd day’s catch up in the office so you’re aware of everything that’s going on.

5. Catch up with family and friends

Once you return to work, there will be a lot of juggling. With all the best will in the world, you may struggle to keep in touch with your friends and family in the way you’d like.

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