The concept of part time work has been around for years and is growing in popularity. With busier schedules and burnout becoming an epidemic, let’s evaluate the part time work pros and cons to see if moving from full time to part time would be a smart and healthy move for you!
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Part Time Work Pros And Cons
The below table highlights the key benefits and disadvantages of part time work.
|Part-Time Work Advantages
|Part-Time Work Disadvantages
|More flexibility to choose work hours and days
|Lower pay rate than on full-time job
|Reduces risk of burnout and working excess hours
|Less pay than compressed hours
|Helps maintain skills
|Less holidays due to fewer hours worked
|Better work life balance
|Job sharing can make role difficult to perform
|Less commuting if working less days
|Benefits may be removed or reduced
|Can help reduce cost of childcare
|More difficult to climb the ladder
|Can create stigma and overwork
Opting to go part time can be a difficult choice as you can see from above. On the surface, it sounds as if you’ll take a pay cut with a part time job. But could a part time job save you money? More importantly, could it save you from burnout and make you a healthier and happier person? Let’s find out!
In the US, the Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes an employee as part-time if they “usually work less than 35 hours per week”. Source
Part-Time Work Advantages
More flexibility to choose work hours and days
When negotiating the hours to work on a part-time schedule, there is usually some leeway given so that the hours are suitable for the worker. However, they will need to suit the company too.
This means a worker can pick hours that allow them to pick up children from school, mind elderly parents or attend to other personal commitments.
Part-time workers usually still bound by certain hours that they are required to work.
This often equates to a couple of mornings a week or else a number of full days a week.
Reduces risk of burnout and working excess hours
Burnout is becoming a leading health concern in the workplace. With growing numbers of people working from home and increasing workplace demands, people are struggling to shut off from work.
Reports have shown that people who experience burnout are working more than 40 hours. Burnout is even more prevalent in people who work 60 hours.
By adopting a part-time role, the risk of burnout and working excess hours can be reduced.
This allows you to have more time to recover from the working week and reduce mental fatigue.
If you work for a company with a flexible working policy, such as the 4-day work week, annualized hours flexi-time or compressed hours, there will be more freedom to reduce your hours.
Helps maintain skills
Sometimes personal circumstances can prohibit you from being able to take on a full time job. That doesn’t mean that you have to throw in the towel and be a stay at home Mom or Dad though!
Opting for a part-time job can offer you the best of both worlds. Working part-time helps keep your skills current and keep connected with your company.
Choosing to go part-time also avoids the empty gap in your CV that can make it difficult to re-enter the working world!
Moving to a part-time job can also create new opportunities to try out a different role and develop new skills to broaden your horizon. This is often not possible in a full-time role.
Finally, taking on a part-time job can be a stepping stone to working for a new department or even a new company. Especially if the company you desire to work for has few full-time roles.
Better work life balance
With reduced working hours, people will have more time for personal commitments and chores.
A study by the OECD revealed that in the US, women clock up 243.2 minutes a day or 28.4 hours a week completing non-paid work, such as household chores. In comparison, their male counterparts were recorded as completing 150.2 minutes a day or 17.5 hours a week.
Part-time work is usually above 16 hours and below 35 hours a week.
This allows a person to reduce the amount of time they spend working both at home and in the workplace.
Consequently, they have more time to rest, and it lowers the risk of them becoming burned out from both work and personal duties.
Part time work can therefore be an excellent strategy for a working parent or busy adult to help balance their lifestyle between family and work.
Less commuting if working less days
Commuting to work consumes fuel, often involves paying for tolls, parking or travel tickets or even taxis. If staff work a couple of full days instead of 5 part-time days, they will have fewer commutes to work.
This can save a significant amount of time and money commuting…
The average savings per year by commuting 1 less day a week could equate to a cool $900!
If your commute involves expensive parking fees, the average savings per year by parking 1 less day range from $288 – $1848!
If you will be required to work 5 days a week, you could alternatively consider asking if you could work remotely to reduce commuting costs.
Can help reduce cost of childcare
Childcare is a costly necessity for many parents who want or need to work. Often, parents are spending a high percentage, or in some cases, nearly their whole income on childcare alone.
With a part-time role, parents have the opportunity to reduce this cost by mind their children for a few extra hours a day or week. This can result in substantial savings!
Having your child looked after for just 1 day less could save you a whopping $44.20 – $138.8 per week!
The average savings per year by reducing childcare 1 less day could equate to $2121.60.
With the cost of childcare burning a massive hole in the pockets of working parents, this will undoubtedly be a huge advantage to working a part-time job.
Part-Time Work Disadvantages
Lower pay than on full-time job
Part-time workers will have a reduced salary in line with the number of hours they work. This is probably the biggest disadvantage to part time work. It’s something you’ll have to adjust to rather quickly, especially if money is tight!
That said, if you will be saving on commutes and childcare as a result of moving to a part-time job, this will offset some of the wage reductions that you experience.
It would be a valuable exercise to calculate how these costs compare to working full-time and paying for childcare, commuting etc.
Tip: Working fewer hours or days means you can spend less on food, treats and coffees.
Less pay than compressed hours
Compressed hours, such as the 4 day work week, allows staff to work fewer hours for the same pay. If this policy doesn’t exist in your workplace, it means that you’ll have to settle for part time work with a reduced wage.
If keeping a full-time wage and reducing your hours is important to you, you could consider moving to a company which has a compressed hours work week.
After all, part time work doesn’t just lower your wage, it also tends to reduce the benefits that you are entitled to.
Less holidays due to fewer hours worked
Part-time workers are entitled to paid annual leave based on the amount of time that they work.
With holiday entitlements, part-time staff are usually on a reduced allowance of holidays. However, bear in mind that you will be getting more hours or days off every week when you move to part-time hours.
If holidays are important to you and you need more flexibility with your work hours, a model that could work for you is unlimited holidays.
Job sharing can make role difficult to perform
Part-time jobs often entail sharing the hours with another person. If this involves overlap in tasks and no distinct lines between the roles you both look after, it can create confusion.
For instance, I have previously requested a quote from a company for someone to come and do work for me. I had to deal with 2 people who worked different days. This became rather frustrating as I had the task half arranged with one person. Then the other job sharer would pick up on the work and I felt like I had to explain it all over again.
For the worker themselves, if someone completes tasks a different way to how you would, this can be frustrating and lead to friction as you both adopt different strategies to complete a task.
Additionally, if the other person wants to take time off, you’ll often need to work together to ensure there is coverage. You might have to pick up extra hours as a result.
Benefits may be removed or reduced
Often, benefits won’t be extended to part-time workers which means you’ll be missing out on the likes of healthcare, pension etc. Some part-time workers can be eligible for benefit packages depending on their company policy.
However, it will usually be quantified based on the number of hours that the worker completes.
For instance, if full-time work is 40 hours and part-time work is 20 hours, the part-time staff member may be eligible for only 50% of the benefits.
Tip: Before committing to part time work, check how holidays and benefits will be affected.
More difficult to climb the ladder
Part-time roles offer fewer opportunities to demonstrate your talent. Plus, the expectation is that many roles will require a full-time worker. This can significantly deplete your chances of climbing the corporate ladder.
I have seen people in the past stepping down managerial roles to move part-time.
If professional development is an important factor for you, then part-time work will likely detract from your chances to advance your career.
Can create stigma and overwork
Part-time workers can be perceived as being unskilled workers and not as engaged or motivated to work. Or if they only work that many hours, they are not as committed to work or good at their job.
Such misconceptions can impact on the mental health of a part-time worker, particularly if they feel judged by their peers.
Part-timers can often experience job creep and feel that they need to prove themselves as being hard workers.
Consequently, they can end up working longer hours and becoming overburdened with tasks to show that they are as committed as their full-time colleagues.
Full-time employment won’t suit everybody. That’s where part-time work becomes a saving grace. With the idea of part time work growing on more companies, there are more opportunities for you to move to a part time role.
Using the above comparison table and tips, you can decide if it’s a good fit for your lifestyle and needs!
If you would like to further enhance your knowledge on alternatives to part time work, I have written some articles that are without a doubt worth a look.
Here are some other useful articles I wrote that you should go check out:
- Casual Work v Full Time – A Guide & Which Pays You More?
- Casual Work v Part Time – 6 Remarkable Differences!
- 4 Day Work Week V 5 Day – Full Of Surprising Facts & Results
- Annualized Hours Explained – Helpful Tips & How It Works!
- How Unlimited Holidays Work – An Insider Guide + FAQs!