Whether taking time for family responsibilities or combining work and study, more and more people are working part-time: recent figures show almost 8.5m workers have part-time hours, an increase of nearly 2m in the last 20 years.
That flexibility is a big help, but it brings its own challenges: how can you make sure your career stays on track? It’s easy to feel out of the loop when you’re part-time, but these tips can help.
One study found that part-timers were more likely to succeed in their careers when they were clear with employers about the reasons behind choosing part-time work, their schedules and future plans. That gave bosses the confidence to communicate honestly and shape mutually satisfying working arrangements.
“Making their new priorities transparent to the organisation will help professionals outperform in their part-time positions just as they did when they were full-time,” wrote Canadian researchers Vivien Corwin, Thomas B. Lawrence and Peter J. Frost.
When your attention is divided, the only way to make sure you give your all is to have clear routines that allow you to focus on one thing at a time. So, getting the logistics right is a key part of working part-time.
“Scheduling is definitely the key,” Ed Gandia, a part-time copywriter, told Inc. Magazine. He would work from 6am to 12pm on Saturdays to ensure that the rest of the day was free for his family for instance.
Of course, if you’re a part-timer anything can go wrong when you’re not in the office. But putting the groundwork in your relationships and getting a powerful advocate on your side can make sure you don’t fall victim to office politics.
Anita Waters, Group Legal Director at Virgin Management, says making a reputation as a good worker and building trust with the bosses, made her path to part-time work much smoother. “I got out there, I tried to get the trust of the senior team, which is invaluable,” she told Management Today.
Good employers will ensure that part-time workers are included in important communications. “We include our part-time staff in our strategy sessions and our team meetings, and they come up with some great ideas,” Steve Durie, CEO of Secure Search, told Inc. Magazine.
But if your company is slow to take the initiative, you might have to give them a nudge: make it clear you can use Skype or Google Hangouts to take part in important meetings even if you’re out of the office.
It’s easier when you’re working as a team to stay on top of things, communicate seamlessly and advocate for each other when you’re away. So it’s no wonder that jobshares have caught on for ambitious people who need to work part-time.
You can make a proposal with a colleague to convert your job into a shared role, apply with a friend to split a job, or use a service like shareyourjob.com to find roles or partners to make your job share dreams a reality.
If you’d like to check out all our part time courses, visit Adult and Part-time courses.