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Calling all part-timers

Andrew Fawkes
Andrew Fawkes

Are you proud to be a part-timer? Is it a title that you revel in as a flexible worker, someone who balances the pressures of responsibility and adds value to an employer who needs all of your skills but not all of your time?

Or do feel like you have to explain that you’re not a shirker, and that you are indeed fully committed to your employer’s goals?

Sadly, my non-scientific research suggests there are too many people in the latter category.

When I talk to people in organisations large and small about this subject, I get widely differing views, including “I tried it once and didn’t like it”, to “my business wouldn’t survive without them”.

I speak with some experience, having been a full time department head ‘confronted’ with a job share role in my team (more of that later), been one half of a job share role and now with a ‘portfolio career’, living the part-time dream.

Some years ago, a couple of people in my team suggested they take on a job share, one to enable childcare and the other to pursue a desire to be a writer. I needed to be convinced, so they gave me a business case. It stacked up, we tried it, it worked (for me, the business and them), I was converted.

It seems that more and more employers are espousing the benefits and desirability of part-time positions, but not all local managers on the ground deliver. As my past life suggests, any perceived negativity is mainly mindset, rather than experience, driven.

Most HR commentators agree that the way forward will be paved by portfolio career people. Part-time options will be a vital aspect of this vision, not least as employers need flexible workforce options, as evidenced by the growth of zero hours contracts.

So if you’re a part-timer, be proud that you are paving way for UK plc to maximise on its workforce and you are demonstrating that flexible working works.

When I reflect on this, it occurs to me that we're all part-timers juggling jobs, home responsibilities, hobbies, caring, etc. All we’re talking about here are degrees of separation!