Crafting Your Part-Time Career: Five Strategies for Success

Whether they’re taking time for family responsibilities or combining work and study, more and more people are working part-time: recent research shows almost 8.5m workers have part-time hours, and despite the pandemic, the figures continue to rise.

Choosing to work in this way provides some major benefits, primarily flexibility, which helps in balancing personal and professional commitments. Part-time working can also mean significantly reduced stress, and it often provides an easier entry route into the job market.

However, whilst these factors can be a big help, part-time working can bring its own challenges: how can you make sure your career stays on track? It’s easy to feel out of the loop when you’re part-time, but with these tips, you can help keep your career aspirations on track.

Be transparent about your schedule

One study found that part-timers were more likely to succeed in their careers when they were clear with employers about the reasons behind choosing part-time work, their schedules and future plans. That gave bosses the confidence to communicate honestly and shape mutually satisfying working arrangements.

“Making their new priorities transparent to the organization will help professionals outperform in their part-time positions just as they did when they were full-time,” wrote Canadian researchers Vivien Corwin, Thomas B. Lawrence and Peter J. Frost.

Build strong routines

When your attention is divided, the only way to make sure you give your all is to have clear routines that allow you to focus on one thing at a time. So, getting the logistics right is a key part of working part-time.

“Scheduling is definitely the key,” Ed Gandia, a part-time copywriter, told Inc. Magazine. He would work from 6am to 12pm on Saturdays to ensure that the rest of the day was free for his family, for instance.

Get the boss onside

Of course, as a part-timer, things can go wrong when you’re not in the office. But putting the groundwork into your relationships and getting a powerful advocate on your side can make sure you don’t fall victim to office politics.

Anita Waters, Group Legal Director at Virgin Management, says creating a reputation as a good worker and building trust with the bosses made her path to part-time work much smoother. “I got out there, I tried to get the trust of the senior team, which is invaluable,” she told Management Today.

Make sure you stay in the loop 

Good employers will ensure that part-time workers are included in important communications. “We include our part-time staff in our strategy sessions and our team meetings, and they come up with some great ideas,” Steve Durie, CEO of Secure Search, told Inc. Magazine.

But if your company is slow to take the initiative, you might have to give them a nudge: make it clear you can use Skype or Google Hangouts to take part in important meetings even if you’re out of the office.

Find a jobshare with someone you trust

It’s easier when you’re working as a team to stay on top of things, communicate seamlessly and advocate for each other when you’re away. So, it’s no wonder that jobshares have caught on for ambitious people who need to work part-time.

You can make a proposal with a colleague to convert your job into a shared role, apply with a friend to split a job, or use a service like to find roles or partners to make your job share dreams a reality.