Moving from full time to part time or flexible working

moving from full time to flexible or part time working

For our latest blog, we invited Jane Middleton and Harriet Lavender from Trapeze HR to share their thoughts on a common desire for people considering career transition: moving from full time to part time or flexible working.

Great news – you have secured the flexibility you were looking for…maybe you are starting in a new business or perhaps you have requested flexibility in your current company – either way, there are some aspects you will need to think about when moving from full time to part time or flexible working.

Here are some tips which should help with a smoother transition…

  1. Time management – think about your new work pattern and how you will spread your hours/the days you will work, to ensure effective prioritisation and delivery. Will you work consecutive days or top and tail a week? Set up communication channels that work for you and your team, whether it’s weekly updates with face to face meetings, video calls or the use of tech platforms that enable you to share real time information and progress. Ensure relevant individuals are aware of your revised working pattern, for clarity of your whereabouts each day, so expectations are managed. Have these conversations early, ensuring everyone has been included and all are in agreement to how you will work together with this new pattern. Be sensible about how you schedule your commitments in your work diary – allow yourself some “wiggle room” on days when you need to leave on time. Remember, you have requested flexible working for a reason, so don’t take the work home with you every night!
  2. Stakeholder management – you have the backing of your line manager to work flexibly, so don’t be apologetic that you are working part time. Your capabilities are the same as they have always been, you are simply working in a different way. To ensure visibility and instil the same confidence in your stakeholders, schedule regular face to face meetings with the people you work with most or those ‘tricky’ customers. Regular face time will ensure continuity and will continue to drive things forward, keeping timelines on track. Ask your stakeholders for feedback – find out how they think it’s working and ask if anything needs to be ‘fine-tuned’.
  3. Work smarter – check your diary in advance and prepare for conversations and meetings that are going to require more time planning. Organise your working day and week in the way that best suits you; if you know you are more productive earlier on in the day then schedule project time and more challenging work for then. Try not to procrastinate – plan your day to ensure deadline activity is diarised – always allowing some additional bandwidth, for unexpected issues that may arise. Getting a significant piece of work completed, will enable you to switch off from work on your day off.
  4. Don’t sweat the small stuff – the reality is that you are working a shorter week and therefore won’t always be able to complete everything on your “to do” list like you used to. You need to be ok with this fact!
  5. Remove the time thieves – if you have colleagues who like to natter, try not to constantly get drawn into these conversations – don’t be embarrassed to explain you are working on a project with a deadline. If you require decisions from individuals, pick up the phone or pop over to their desk to speed the process up.
  6. Email management – aim to read your emails first thing – this could be done on your commute. This way you’ll be aware of any unexpected issues that have cropped up and what needs your attention. Try to check your inbox at set times throughout the day. Skimming emails and going back to them later takes up more time than you realise.
  7. Communicate Communicate Communicate!

Harriet Lavender and Jane Middleton are the co-founders of Trapeze HR – a recruitment business that specialises in flexible and agile working Human Resources recruitment, partnering SME’s in securing top HR talent. Do get in touch if you would like to hear more: