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:
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 .
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