For many Mums returning to work, part-time employment may seem like an ideal choice at first glance. This is particularly true if the work hours are during school or nursery hours or if a partner can be at home when you are at work.
With that in mind, it may be hard to imagine how part-time work wouldn’t be the right choice for anyone wanting to return to work and still be involved in the lives of the child. Surprisingly, part-time work can actually end up being more of a challenge than you may have imagined, and it could even hurt your potential for advancement if you want to move up into senior roles or to move from part to full-time. Equally it may be the balance you are looking for allowing you to work around family, whilst maintaining a professional identity. With so many things to think about, is part-time employment the right choice? It can be a head spin! We’ve put some pointers to you to consider..
Part-Time Hours and Flexibility
Sometimes part-time employees are seen by companies as the “fill-in staff.” In other words, they are there to put bodies in the business, not necessarily due to their work skills or abilities.
This can make it very difficult for a part-time employee to request flexibility in their scheduling. Of course, this will vary based on the specific industry and job type, but generally speaking, part-time employees have the least flexibility with regards to scheduling. Too many requests for flexibility or changes in scheduling can result in less time provided by the employer, which is a negative for the employee.
This is different than a job-sharing arrangement. In a job-sharing situation, typically two people are hired to fill the position. The individuals then work together to create a schedule that works for them both, but also gives the employer a trained, qualified and experienced employee in the position at all times.
Job-sharing is not common, particularly when it comes to more senior positions. It is a possibility to consider and one that many businesses may be open to consider if the right job-sharing partners were to propose the concept.
The Move to Full-Time Employment
One of the challenges of working part-time is the lack of training that is usually provided. Typically, businesses will send full-time employees to conferences, trainings and professional events but tend to be less concerned about sending part-time professionals.
This can create a disparity when a full-time position comes open in the company. A part-time staffer may not have the latest in training and professional development as compared to even a more junior hire with full-time employment.
An option to consider would be choosing a full-time job and negotiating flexibility in the schedule. This could include starting earlier and working later four days a week to get a full or half day off during the week.
Other options to consider include having the option to work from home. Remote working is increasingly more common in many professional fields as online conferencing, cloud-based software and secure messaging platforms create a virtual office at home.
For quality candidates, many businesses are willing to at least discuss and consider flexibility in scheduling and hours for full-time employees. Having a plan on how you would like to see your work schedule structured will be essential when you go to the interview, giving you all the benefits of full-time employment on a more flexible schedule that provides the work/life balance required.
Over the last 18 months we have coached many women through our one to one ‘spotlight on your career’ coaching. Supporting mums returning to work after maternity or to work after a break, so much often needs to be explored, we help regain your confidence and new direction as well as plan to make it all happen as smoothly as possible. Skype, phone, or face to face in Warwickshire available, contact us at www.career-mums.co.uk/returners