Mothers have been advised to discuss flexible working with their employers before they go on maternity leave.
According to a new survey from WorkingMums.com, the majority of women identify the lack of flexible working practices as the main deterrent from returning to the office.
However, 47 per cent of women had not asked their bosses about the possibility of this, even though 83 per cent admitted that they hoped to work in this way when they returned from maternity leave.
The research also found that of those that did talk over this option, 57 per cent either achieved their aims or were able to reach a compromise with their employers.
"There remains a large number of women who continue to be unaware of their rights to work flexibly or [are] unable to discuss this with their employers," Gilliam Nissim, founder of the website, commented.
Mothers are currently entitled to a statutory maternity leave of 52 weeks, 39 weeks of which is paid at a basic level.
With skills shortages running at an all-time high, flexible working has become a vital resource, according to Kurosh Kiani, Customer Service Manager at ClickAJob.
"Yes, expectant mums need to set up arrangements before they break from work," he says. "But employers need to come to the party too."
"Overnight, one of their key assets is walking out of the door with a head full of the latest company detail - is it worth the loss, for the simple effort of organising a shift or a remote login?"
"Mums should also remember that flexible working keeps them from disappearing off the company radar," he continues.
"'Out of sight, out of mind' happens very quickly when you step out of the job market, even temporarily," he points out.
"Flexible or part-time working keeps you in the loop too - it sidesteps reinventing yourself when it's time to come back."