Part-Time Employees: A Hidden Weapon of Efficiency

 

“Many of the reasons for hiring part-time employees are monetary. They work fewer hours, and they cost your company less. Depending on how many hours they work, they may not be eligible for benefits, which is another source of savings. But what are the benefits of hiring part-time employees, and what do you need to look out for?

The Motivation to Work Part-time

Many people chose to work part-time for personal reasons.

There are children or loved ones at home to care for. They want to pursue a passion. They need the extra income. Whatever it is, those seeking part-time work have consciously made the choice to find balance in their lives and have considered how much of their time they are willing to give in order to get it.

We interviewed three part-timers to find out more:

Marie, a creative lead on a global marketing team at a large technology company, worked with her manager to create a part-time role after Marie gave birth to twins.

Joe, a sales program manager at a data management company, is seeking to transition his role to part-time in order to pursue his passion—his own start-up.

Rachel, a life science technician at a large research university, specifically looked for part-time jobs after the birth of her second child.

Part-Time Workers Think Efficiently

Because their time on the job is more limited than full-time workers, the part-timers who transitioned from full-time are particularly sensitive to how much they can get done in the hours they are there.

“I think about work differently now,” Marie said. “I’m much more efficient with my time, and I actually get more work done.”

Joe, who hasn’t yet transitioned but is in the process of working out an agreement with his manager, said, “My manager and I are taking the long-term initiatives and breaking them down to sets of accomplishments towards an end goal.” He sees this prioritization as win-win. “My manager is prioritizing the tasks/projects that most suit my skill sets and interests,” he says, “and it will allow me to feel in more control of how I use my time.”

Part-Time Workers Enjoy Their Work

Workers whose off-time pursuits are different from their professional pursuits report enjoying work more. “My work days are my ‘me time’ where I get a break from kids and get to focus on what interests me,” Rachel said.

“I love that I get to use my brain at work,” Marie said. “I really enjoy the interaction with people. Now I look forward to Mondays, but by the end of the day I miss the babies.” For many college-educated professional women, the world of diapers and preschool toys lacks the intellectual stimulation they were accustomed to on the job, which makes them appreciate work even more.

Part-Timers Respect Boundaries

In the world of smartphones and always-on email, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Part-timers in many professional fields have to make a conscious choice to turn off. “An important part of why I want to transition to part-time,” Joe said, “is more control over how I use my time.”

Even so, part-time boundaries are an adjustment for those transitioning from full-time. “I’ve had to learn how to respect my own boundaries,” Marie said. “I check email only once a day on my off days. Sometimes I need to respond to urgent matters. And sometimes I feel bad about missing meetings on the days I’m off.”

Hiring or Transitioning to Part-Time

If your company is hiring part-time employees or has full-timers who are seeking a transition, consider the following:

  • Look at their motivation for working part-time. Will their off-time pursuits interfere with their ability to perform on the job, or will it complement it?
  • Break down responsibilities and tasks. Part-time employees, particularly those with a full-time history, want to know how to structure their day.
  • Respect the boundaries they have set. If it’s a job that requires being on-site, such as a lab technician, boundaries are simple. But boundaries also extend to the digital world. Set guidelines for response to emails in the off-hours.

As more people seek to find balance between work and passion, and course-correct from the digital communication explosion, don’t be surprised to see more requests from full-timers seeking a transition to part-time. Also consider how professional part-time employees could bring your organization the skills it needs at a cost it can afford.

This article is part of a series on how to adapt and thrive in this new era of changing careers. To receive articles like this by email, sign up for Simply Hired’s Monthly Newsletter and Feature Articles.

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