By Michelle Gibbings
There are various reasons why people already in the workforce seek to move from full to part time work. They may be wanting to scale down and ease into retirement, or they are seeking shorter working hours because they need to spend more time with their children or aging parents.
Whatever the reason if you are seeking part time and more flexible work, here are some tips to get you on track.
It's often easier to get flexible work in the organisation you are already working for. If you are keen to go part time, give your boss plenty of notice so they have time to consider and plan.
If they are hesitant about how it may work and its suitability, offer to go part time on a trial basis so you can demonstrate to them that it can work. If you are doing this on a trial basis be clear on the trial's duration and how you are both going to assess whether it's been effective (or not).
Make the ask
The saying – 'Don't Ask. Don't Get' – often rings true. You need to be willing to make the ask for flexible working and have your case spelt out as to why it benefits the organisation and how it can work.
As you do this, highlight what you bring to the role. If you have the skills, experience and attitude the organisation is looking for, they will be more willing to try and find ways to make the flexibility work.
Find the options
There are many forms of part time work. It may be working few hours (traditional part time), working the same hours but over fewer days (a compressed working week) or working to deliver a defined piece of work for a fixed rate (consulting/contract work).
Know what type of work you are looking for as there are different conditions and security attached to the options.
For example, moving from short term contract to another contract has higher levels of job insecurity. The upside though is you can take decide how much time you want off between each piece of work.
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Seek hot spots
There's a growing number of jobs and professions where flexible working options are available. As well, some industries have more established practices, particularly retail, health care, consulting firms, government sector, education, hospitality and other service-based industries.
See where there is a fit between the industry you want to work in and industries where there is availability.
The more flexible you are the easier it will be to find part time work. Where practical, strive to not be too rigid in what you are looking for. If you can accommodate your potential employer's needs and make yourself highly valued in the workplace, it's easier to negotiate what you want.
For example, you may want to consider being open to taking on more hours during peak periods for your organisation. If that's the case, make that clear to your prospective employer during the hiring process.
Stay the course
Recruiting staff is costly and if you can emphasise to your potential employer your commitment and dedication to the position it will add to your attractiveness as a candidate.
Once you are hired, always seek to deliver value and more than what's expected of you. When you are reliable, productive and a great contributor to the team, your employer will come to rely on you, and that helps with any future negotiations that are needed around working flexibly.
Michelle Gibbings is the author of 'Step Up: How to Build your Influence at Work', and 'Career Leap: How to reinvent and liberate your career' www.michellegibbings.com