Thinking of going part time? Check out our pros and cons before taking the plunge

The pure joy of downing tools on a Wednesday, knowing you won't be back in the office until the following Monday, never gets old. As does wearing a rather smug grin as you leave work, trilling, “See you in five days time!”

Is this a dream, or is it a reality for you?

If you want to make it a reality, then it's worth reading this article to find out the advantages and disadvantages of part time employment. With a quarter of the British workforce working part time it's not unreasonable to consider, as long as you plan ahead to make sure it's viable for your circumstances.

Defining part time employment

Working part time is not the same as flexi-time, working a 4-day week, or adopting the 9/80 work schedule. So, what is the official definition of working part time? While most other work-related systems have official definitions spewing out all over the place, there actually isn't one that says what part time work is!

With full time employment being seen as working roughly 35 hours a week, part time employment is anything below that, i.e. between one and 34 hours a week.

It's worth noting that part time workers should receive the same rights as full time employees with regard to pay (which is pro-rata - i.e. your wages are proportionate to the amount of hours worked versus a full time position), holiday and pension entitlements, training, and career development.

The advantages of part time employment

Gain a better work-life balance

Since the pandemic, a more fluid way of working has emerged. Many workers left the workplace altogether, especially those in the 50 - 65 age bracket. Of the 58% of them considering a return to work, 32% said the most important factor was landing a job that offered flexible working hours.

Being part time does just that, giving you that freedom to earn some money, but simultaneously have enough hours left in the week to enjoy other adventures.

Reduce stress

We all know that work can be stressful at times. Knowing that you only have to work, say, two or three days a week, means you have the other days to chill out and recuperate.

Gentle easing back into work

If you've been out of work for a while, starting out again in a part time role is a great way of easing yourself back in. You'll still be able to take the time out to pursue your hobbies and interests, but it will give you a better sense of where you want to take your career without too much pressure.

The disadvantages of part time employment

A drop in wages

We all know that the fewer hours you work, the less you'll get paid, so one major disadvantage of part time employment is accepting a lower salary. This is just a fact of life, and it's worth ensuring your finances can cope with this if you do take the leap into part time employment.

Time management discrepancies

Another one of the disadvantages of part time employment is managing your time wisely, and not trying to cram five days worth of work into, say, three days. This is especially true if you've gone part time in a role you previously did full time.

Potential stalling of your career

If you want to advance in your career, the brutal truth and unwritten rule is that this is one of the disadvantages of part time employment, as you're unlikely to be seen as being as committed as those employees who work full time. This obviously isn't fair. As we've learned above, employers should treat all employees the same, but that simply doesn't happen in the real world, so be aware.

The difference between part time and fractional work

There's a new kid in town - fractional employment.

While part time work is with one company, fractional work is similar to being freelance or undertaking contract work. It allows someone to work for numerous employers, selling their time or skills to the right buyer.

Work the hours that work for you

Now you've got the lowdown on the advantages and disadvantages of working part time, and insight into other flexible working patterns, you're ready to decide which style of working suits you best. Stride forth into a new role that has the work-life balance you deserve! 

Keen to frame your CV with the focus on tailoring it towards a part time role? Fear not, help is at hand at TopCV, starting with a free review of your CV. You could even check out the professional writing service for a complete overhaul of your most important job search document.

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