Part-Time Turmoil
by Joni Daniels

In an effort to balance work and family, many employees (predominantly women), have opted to work part-time. Yet, 20-30 hour work weeks often turn into 30 or 40 hours because women feel that the number of hours they work is an indicator of their skill level and worth to both the company and themselves. At a recent meeting of a local Mothers and More group (a subgroup of The Entrepreneur's Club) several "part-timers" confessed to working 30 hours for 20 hours of paid work. Several admitted to taking work home and made sure that they were always available by email, phone or fax.

Eager to work less than the traditional 40-hour workweek to make time for young children, aging parents, running complex households, and community involvement, these women had taken advantage of the options provided by companies who were willing to accommodate a nontraditional schedule in order to take advantage of their knowledge and work ethic. But the actual implementation often didn't play out as they had envisioned. With reduced face-time, they were often treated less than professionally, and given undesirable projects and assignments with less visibility. Some actually said that it felt as if they were being punished for doing the job they were hired to do.

CEO's need to make sure they are leveraging all of the talent within their firm, and they may be missing the boat with their part time employees. There are actions a CEO, and their direct reports can take to support these often-overlooked employees. There are also things that managers should encourage part-time professionals to do to make sure that they stay connected and that their professionalism shines through. For instance:

CEO:

  • Make sure you are aware how part time employees spend their time. Determine if the goals and objectives that have been set are realistic expectations or a wish list.

  • Request that employees let you know how much extra time they are donating to accomplish their goals. Someone who works 30 hours a week but gets paid for 20 is going to leave. Turnover costs a company money.

  • Invite part time employees to have a cup of coffee or a quick lunch with you, or attend a coworker's birthday celebration so you can get to know them better. Don't forget to include part time employees in training opportunities, and meetings.

  • Urge your management team to follow your lead. Ask them if they are treating their part time employees like potential full timers. Encourage employees to grow professionally with your firm.

Part Timer:

  • Make sure the boss, fellow committee members, task force members, department coworkers and other colleagues know how you are spending your time.

  • Stop giving away work.

  • Take time to have a cup of coffee, a quick lunch, or attend a coworker's birthday celebration so you can get to know your coworkers, and more importantly, they can get to know you.

  • Recognize that respect starts with self-respect.

It is difficult to shift paradigms - but not impossible.


Joni Daniels is the founder of Daniels & Associates, a consulting group specializing in personal and professional development. A nationally recognized trainer, speaker, author, and entrepreneur, Ms. Daniels has helped professionals at all levels to develop effective interpersonal skills. For more information, please visit www.jonidaniels.com or http://www.powertoolsforwomen.com .

Many more articles in Motivation & Retention in The CEO Refresher Archives

   


Copyright 2003 by Joni Daniels. All rights reserved.

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