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Do you suffer from part-time overload?


Are you working full-time in your 4 day/week job? It’s a common problem, especially amongst people who work full-time and ask to go part-time – because, very often, the workload of the job is not re-assessed.

Work overload, coupled with ‘part-time guilt’ around your full-time colleagues, is one of several emotional stresses experienced by part-time workers. Although you may be pulling your weight, guilt can create a mind-set of saying ‘yes’ to everything, which in turn leads to working late into the evenings and on non-working days. This is not working part-time and is not sustainable in the long term.

Your employer has agreed to a part-time arrangement, so try to keep reminding yourself of this fact. Take control and set realistic parameters to create the part-time role you really want. We’ve outlined the key areas to help you address these issues with your line manager and colleagues, so you can get rid of the dreaded part-time guilt for good.

Step one: Be assertive

First things first; replace guilt with assertiveness. Take control of situations and don’t be afraid to question. An assertive person is someone who…

  1. Can quickly find common ground when in a ‘conflict’ situation
  2. Knows they have personal power and doesn’t feel threatened or victimised when things don’t go as planned or expected
  3. Is good at solving problems and is empowered to do whatever it takes to find the best solution. 

Step two: Setting fair objectives

As with all roles, setting clear parameters makes it so much easier to manage your workload more effectively. Work closely with your line manager to make sure your job description is clearly defined, realistic and achievable. This will also help you set boundaries for colleagues who may want more of your time.

Step three: ‘No’ seems to be the hardest word

It’s ok to say no. You’re not superhuman. You’ve worked with your line manager to create a clear job description, but then you’re given work outside of this remit. It’s ok to push back and suggest an alternative for a positive outcome. This is when assertiveness really kicks in. However, if this is something you’re not comfortable with, then discuss it with your line manager. Know your limits and have a point where you feel you are at capacity.

Step four: Turn negativity into a healthy and positive mind-set

We all have days in the office when it all feels a bit much. When it gets to that point, don’t dwell on it. Do say what’s on your mind, but do it in a way that is respectful and not a personal attack on your colleagues. Take a deep breath and look at the bigger picture. If the main issue is that your workload is too much, don’t forget that this can be discussed and resolved, so control your emotions and steer away from creating a conflict situation.

Step five: Be proud to work part-time or flexibly

This is such an important point, so don’t lose sight of it. Never apologise for working part-time or flexibly. You still have the same ambition as everybody else. You can still climb the career ladder and always look to improve your skills and experience. Believe it or not you could be a role model for other colleagues. If they see you making it work, then the possibility of moving to a part-time or flexible role in the future is also achievable for them. Be proud of the fact you work part-time, but also be realistic about what you can achieve in that time.

And finally…

Never think that because you work part-time, you don’t deserve promotion. Do our quiz: “How can I get promoted whilst working part-time?”

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