Working full-time when you have too many other priorities to juggle can be a challenge. Many of us, if we can afford it, would prefer to work part-time for a variety of reasons.
Perhaps, you would like to spend more time with your children, start a business, pursue a passion or simply reduce your stress level. If you can afford the cut in pay, cutting back your hours at work can help free up some of your valuable time and can make your life more manageable.
Before You Ask
As my mom would say, it’s not always what you say that matters – it’s how you say it. Think through the logistics of your transition before meeting with your supervisor to discuss it. Anticipate problems and questions he may have about your proposal, and come up with rational answers. Be prepared to make the case for how your workplace will work with you spending less time in it.
Keep the focus on your continued contribution to the company, and not on your absence. Approaching your employer in the right way can enhance your chances of success. Here are some tips to consider if you want to ask your boss about working part-time instead of full-time.
Tips for Asking Your Employer to Work Part-Time
Be sure you’re a star performer. Make sure your recent performance is stellar prior to making any request. Employees who have clearly established their worth through strong productivity and a positive attitude are more likely to be accommodated.
Carefully plan when to ask. Select a time to make your request when your supervisor is relatively unstressed. If your boss is under pressure to meet new demands, she might be threatened by any potential reduction in staffing.
Assure your boss the basics will be covered. Analyze your current position and identify the most crucial aspects of your role. When making your proposal, reassure your boss that you will continue to deliver results in those areas.
Explain what can be handed off to someone else. Itemize less critical components of your role that could easily be handled by others and reference any suggestions for handing over those responsibilities.
Expect to negotiate. Your employer’s immediate reaction might be to say no. Be prepared to discuss their concerns and think of creative ways to make them more comfortable. So if you get an initial no, you might say something like “I understand that this could be a difficult transition for our unit, can we discuss your concerns?” or “I have anticipated some possible issues and here is how we might deal with them.”
Can you compromise? Know your bottom line and be prepared to compromise if it’s feasible. For example, you might want to reduce your hours by half. If you have exhausted all means of persuading your employer to that end, then might you consider a smaller reduction to half-time or 3/4 time?
Consider other options. As a fallback plan, consider alternatives that might meet your needs but minimize the adjustment for your employer. For example, could you come in early and leave early so you would be home when your daughter gets home from school? Perhaps, you could leave early but make up the time working from home during the evening.
Juggle your schedule. If your unit experiences periods of peak demand, consider a proposal that would have you invest more hours during times of high need and fewer hours during off-peak times. For example, you might suggest that you will continue to work full time during the six weeks prior to preparing the annual report but work fewer hours during the summer when it is traditionally slow.
Be clear about why you want a change. Present a strong rationale for why you would like a transition to part-time and make it clear that you are very motivated to move forward with this change.
Show you love your job. Make it clear that this request does not represent a diminished interest in your work. Reassure your boss that you will maintain a very high level of investment in your team during the hours when you are working.
Be careful how you ask. You don’t want to jeopardize your current job because you’re asking for a change. Be flexible and don’t issue or imply an ultimatum to your employer unless you are ready to back it up.