Most articles about this topic inform readers that employers vary in their definition of “part-time” and that location, company policy, and the needs of employees are factors in classifying the term. Then these articles will give the typical expectations of part-time parameters, which is between 20 to 29 hours a week. But how many hours is considered part-time isn’t the biggest question that needs answering regarding this topic.
The real question is, what does working part-time mean for our labor force?
The Career Advice Experts of the Glassdoor Team begin their piece by clarifying the vagueness around what makes a part-time worker, then get into the benefits of having a condensed schedule. Especially if there are other professional or personal goals an employee wants to accomplish.
“Part-time jobs can be a great option for candidates who want greater flexibility with their time, as they leave more time for other activities and pursuits.”
An upside of part-time hours means more time in the day and week for taking care of family, developing skills, investing in education, and balancing work and life responsibilities. There’s also extra earning potential for those who can juggle multiple part-time positions, spreading out their passions or professional interests.
Though there are many reasons for job seekers to choose this type of work scheme, a majority of the benefits relate to the flexibility of time to reap them.
On the side of a business model, there are also benefits that organizations can gain when integrating varying part-time schedules for their employees. This related article from The Financial even goes so far as to urge employers to consider part-time options to reshape work as it’s currently known.
“One-size-fits-all working patterns no longer make sense – offering part-time working is one of the important ways employers can attract and retain talented staff.”
Focusing on a report titled “Part-time working after the pandemic” by co-authors Dr. Charlotte Gascoigne and Dr. Pierre Walthery, the article shares its insight into how minimizing working hours influence retention and better management practices. With a shorter work week, such as the four-work day model, or traditional part-time hours, team leaders can better delegate and execute work management on a schedule focused on productivity rather than hours.
A key assumption from this article is that companies with a part-time work scheme can improve employee morale and increase their competitive edge for job-seekers entering the workforce.
Like Glassdoor’s article on the topic, J.B. Maverick with Investopedia highlights some of the most attractive benefits of part-time work. And one that immediately stands out is the leverage afforded to employees and employers regarding earning consideration for available positions.
“When there are no full-time positions available within a given company, workers may accept part-time employment to position themselves as the obvious candidate when a coveted full-time slot becomes available.”
Interning is already a common practice in most organizations, but offering part-time positions to a candidate means an opportunity to prepare a new hire for bigger and better things to come within teams. Gaining experience, adapting to the culture, and conditioning part-time employees with future responsibilities are added perks for companies testing growth potential.
Instead of seeing part-time as a hindrance to commitment, it can be an advantage for professional development.
Vivian Corwin, Thomas B. Lawrence, and Peter J. Frost of the Harvard Business Review have a compelling article on the strategies of successful part-time work. What their piece brings to light, and what’s most intriguing, is a particular adversity of part-time professionals.
“Perceived discrimination makes many part-timers feel defensive about their status, which can put them on the offensive.”
Regarding respect, visibility, and loyalty, these professionals may feel the need to conceal their part-time position so that they aren’t seen as less than their full-time counterparts. Where they may be gaining the benefits of flexibility, they can also feel the strain of inadequacy in some way, shape, or form.
Shifting away from workplace productivity norms and reevaluating schedules will help destigmatize the perception that fewer hours mean less valuable.
Working hard and hardly working are the perceived teeter of part-time professionals, even though their roles are mostly structured commitments based on a company and employee’s needs. For all parties to take advantage of this scheduling scheme, the modern workforce must be open-minded about production efficiency. Long hours spent at work can no longer equate to quality hours spent getting things done.
Part-time hours mean flexibility for employees, retention practices for companies, and opportunities for reshaping the future of work. Company-wide change and professional decisions shouldn’t be made on a whim, though. Trial periods and updated scheduling must be practical and align with the performance goals of organizations and their employees.
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