During my second year in my role at the School Engineering, I became pregnant. All staff members and personnel supported me during my pregnancy, politely offering me advice and asking if everything was alright and if all my needs were being met. The Research Institute’s secretary was kind enough to knit a beanie hat and gloves for my baby!
During maternity leave, my line manager provided support by offering flexible terms on when I wanted to return to work and asking if I wanted to work from home or part-time in order to meet the needs of my new-born.
These choices made me feel supported and happy. By having a pleasant working environment, I was able to stay in touch with my research group and academic colleagues while on maternity leave, discussing issues over the phone, Skype, or by regular meetings either on School premises or at baby friendly cafés.
As a result, I was able to devote my time to raising my baby, and was also able to deliver high-impact research outputs and bid for funding, therefore boosting my career potential.
Dr Efthalia Chatzisymeon, Senior Lecturer, Civil and Environmental Engineering (School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh)