Here at Chiumento we have, what some would say, a rather unusual approach. Not only do we all work remotely, but 70% of our staff work on a part-time basis. It’s something that I’ve not really thought about in much detail before, as for us it seems totally logical and normal.
We have highly experienced and motivated staff that just happen to work fewer than the standard 5 days. It was only when discussing this with others that I became more aware of our slightly unconventional way of working.
We have recruited a number of new roles over the past 3 years. All of which, after some careful thinking, were offered on a part-time basis. A move that has helped us to attract highly experienced individuals, that as a small company, we don’t need on a full-time basis.
However, for everyone that is on board with our approach there are always a few disbelievers. I remember conversations with potential applicants worried about taking a backward step, that just because it was a part-time position, it wouldn’t have enough influence or been taken seriously.
I find this view quite hard to understand. Just because a role is part-time, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a proper job, or that the person doing it, is only making a half-hearted effort. For example, our marketing manager works 3 days a week, for those 3 days she is focused on our social media, blogs, Google rankings and everything else marketing related, for the other 2 days a week she gets to enjoy time with her children. But it’s not just those with young children that want part-time work, we’ve got a budding florist (excuse the pun) a photographer and a student who all use their non-working days to focus on their other passion.
But does this split-week mean that their work efforts aren’t valued or taken seriously? That their job is less important just because they don’t work 5 days? The simple answer is no. Without this flexible approach to work, as a smaller organisation, we would struggle to attract the people we need to grow.
Part-time work is no longer reserved to basic tasks for those without career aspirations. Take a look at any jobboard and you’ll see adverts for very senior positions being recruited for on a part-time basis. The move towards a more flexible approach to work, with remote and home working becoming a reality for many workers is just the start. I believe, well I hope, that this will extend, and part-time work will start to get the recognition it deserves.