Many of us, especially women with small children often face a dilemma – ‘shall I go back to work full-time or reduce my hours and go part-time’? People also ask these questions when their employer has downsized and they are faced with an option of staying in the part-time capacity or leaving the company. Or possibly, they are juggling two jobs – both part-time, which makes it even harder to be efficient and achieve results.
Some people also may end up feeling second-rate in the aftermath of going part-time. It could be due to their working environment (unfortunately, some employers still look down on their part-time employees) or it could simply be the result of how they start viewing themselves as opposed to how they used to be when they were working full-time.
Those working part-time (this is particularly the case when women return from their maternity leave) may start feeling less confident, less efficient, which in turn can lead to worse performance, procrastination and feelings of unhappiness and dissatisfaction with their jobs (and lives in general!).
We should always remember that a lot of high-achieving individuals work part-time while heading up companies and running international divisions. I had a look at the recently compiled list of the famous part-times and was amazed to see that a Managing Director of Goldman Sachs Investment banking division currently works just four days per week after coming back from her maternity leave! This is simply unbelievable (and inspiring) – a woman working part-time in such a macho and super-charged environment interspersed with frequent inter-continental travel.
If they can do it – we certainly can do it! And while at it – achieve the highest posts within an organisations and prove that a part-time worker can be as efficient (if not more so due to time pressure) as a full-timer.
Here are a few trade secrets compiled by me:
– Strive to be on top of all your tasks time-wise and plan ahead carefully for each day you are going to be in the office. You can for instance, pre-set your agenda on Monday for the next few days – outlining for yourself your schedule and the tasks that need to be accomplished hour by hour. Yes – hour by hour no less no more! Try not to leave any tasks unfinished by the time you leave for the week. This will hopefully help you stay focused and motivated and project a positive impression.
– Provide contact details for co-workers/clients to be able to get in touch when you are not at work. This should of course be done within reason – so it may be a good idea to provide a one- or two-hour slot during the day when they can call or email you. This would help you ‘be present’ at the office even when you are at home.
– You could also ask your colleague to follow-up on certain tasks for you in your absence or in case something goes wrong. It would be best to provide a detailed written outline of where you are with your work and what may potentially go wrong and the suggested ways to mitigate it. This would allow your colleague to get to grips with the situation relatively quickly and would leave a good impression of you for the management.
– Aim to have a regular update/catch up session with your boss. It would help both of you – for him to stay in the loop and to feel included and involved and for you – to build a good impression of yourself. I would suggest as often as twice per week – at the beginning and the end of your working week.
– Occasionally you should try and stay for a meeting for which you are not paid or which falls outside your working hours. Or possibly, participate in an activity alongside full-time employees. This will aid your image and show that you are on the same page with your full-time colleagues.
These are just some of the tips you may find helpful and I would be delighted to hear the ideas and comments based on your personal experiences!