Like most young professionals, my early career had me working full time and sometimes long hours. Working part time was not on my radar.
After marriage and motherhood in my early 30s, I stepped into the wonderful world of flexible work arrangements. (That move eventually led me to start WorkOptions.com; I wanted everyone to enjoy work flexibility!)
Throughout the years, a reduced workweek was the norm for me. Depending on the job position, I worked 20, 25, or 32 hours a week.
No matter the number, working as a part-time professional was a close-to-perfect blend of career challenge and family life flexibility, despite the hit in income. (It helped that I’m a low-maintenance type, a product of a modest upbringing.)
How Can You Have Flexible Work Without a Heavy Hit on Your Salary?
In an ideal world of work flexibility, my dream is this: that every professional who wants more time for life has the option to transition to part time.
I’m not alone in this, of course, but the financial realities of today have most people cranking full-time hours, and then some.
(All the worse if you’re underpaid, besides. Find out how to measure and fix your pay gap.)
With the money squeeze the way it is, what are your options for going from full time to part time?
Here are three ways that will create some flexibility and free time with your family without a heavy hit on your salary.
Start by Redefining the Part-Time Arrangement
Long before the Great Recession of 2008, “part-time” usually meant working 20 to 32 hours a week, as was my experience during the 1990s and earlier 2000s.
That’s still an option, of course, but these days (2018 as I write this), a salary reduction of up to 50% is not sustainable for most working mothers and their families.
The harsh “new normal” reality of the post-recession era has crept into the world of flexible work options.
With that, we need to start by redefining part-time as this: working no fewer than four days a week.
Even with its altered definition, a part-time schedule of 32 to 35 hours can mean a world of difference in your quality of life.
For example, when you can get a few more tasks done during the week, the weekends won’t be overloaded with chores and errands, crowding out fun with your family.
Besides that, the three ways below for going part-time without going broke each trim only 10% of your salary. Take a look and see if one will work for you.
3 Part-time Schedule Options to Consider
1. Take Every Other Friday Off
Do you like the sound of 26 long weekends a year? Working the math, that’s 72 hours every two weeks, or 72 out of 80 hours, which retains 90% of your salary.
With only 10% fewer work hours, this arrangement should meet little resistance from your manager. Label it a “reduced workweek” instead of “part-time” to enhance your chances of acceptance.
2. The Seven-Hour Workday
A 35-hour workweek might not sound very part time, but I’ve known women with this schedule who cherished that reclaimed one hour a day.
Leaving an hour earlier than usual positively impacts your commute time, your meal times, your free time and your bedtime.
For working mothers and others, that’s a gift better than gold!
When proposing this option to your manager, called it a “shortened workday” instead of “part-time hours.”
Technically, this flexible schedule would suggest a 12.5% proration in your salary (5 out of 40 hours).
However, it’s reasonable to make your pitch for a 10% reduction only. Which brings us to the third option…
3. Cut Your Hours, Not Your Pay
Propose a reduced workweek of four days (32 hours), but negotiate to keep your salary at 90 to 100% instead of prorating it to 80%.
Radical? Yes. Impossible? No.
From my experience, both personally and with clients, pulling off such an arrangement can depend on:
- Your perceived value
- Which work responsibilities you will retain
- The quality of your relationship with your manager
- Your negotiation strategy and ability
For more specifics on these five factors…
READ: How to Request a Shorter Workweek Yet Keep Close to Full-time Pay and assess whether it could work for you.
Three New Ways to Work
Now you’re equipped with three ways to work fewer hours without blowing your budget.
The easiest way to put apply any one of these ideas into a formal request to your manager is to use my Part-time Proposal Package. Nine out of 10 users get approval of their request. Why not you?