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Part-time work: the Definition, Pitfalls, and Pluses

For example, employees work schedule in a part-time work arrangement can consist of:

  • Three 8-hour days a week
  • Five 4-hour days a week
  • Two 10-hour days a week
  • Any other distribution of hours agreed upon by the employer/employee

Part-time work is especially convenient for young moms and dads, students, retirees, people who want to start their own business and need more time, and all other workers who can’t work, or don’t need, a full-time job.

Part-time work leaves employees more time and energy for other activities, so it’s especially appropriate for family-oriented people.

From the employee’s point of view, there are a number of factors to consider when looking at part-time rather than full-time employment. Employees might consider absolute income first, but there are other important factors involved, such as: family time, overall stress and health, transportation costs etc. 

Part-time work can also be combined with some other types of work, such as:

  • Job-sharing, which means one full-time job split into two part-time jobs
  • Part-time parental leave, which means a parent works part-time besides their work in the home
  • Progressive retirement, which means reduced working hours for employees nearing retirement

Advantages and disadvantages of part-time work

There are of course some key advantages and disadvantages for employers and employees when it comes to part-time work. However, in most cases the pros outweigh the cons, so it’s definitely worth a try for both parties.

Advantages of part-time work

  • Attracting applicants from a wider employment pool
  • Retaining valued employees who may not want or be able to work full-time
  • Possibly enabling the employer to reduce costs without reducing staff
  • Enables the employer to cover busy periods efficiently
  • More free time, flexibility, and work-life balance for employees
  • Enhances employees morale, productivity, and commitment
  • Reduces absenteeism and tardiness

Disadvantages of part-time work

  • May cause under-staffing at times
  • May create difficulty in scheduling meetings, coordinating projects
  • Difficulty in measuring working hours and performance of part-timers
  • Could negatively affect the employee’s income and benefits
  • Could negatively affect the employee’s career advancement
  • Employee may be viewed as less committed by colleagues
  • Supervision issues
  • The employee’s other job duties need to be reassigned

Where to start with part-time work as a job seeker

Not every occupation is suited to part-time work. First of all, it makes sense to find the most appropriate type of part-time work for you, considering your preferences and competences. 

Then you must take into consideration the payment and flexibility you expect. A part-time job can be shift-based or self-scheduled. More demanding jobs are of course paid better than others.

Examples of occupations that are suitable for part-time work:

  • Security officer
  • Personal or taxi driver
  • Warehouse worker
  • Nanny
  • Accountant
  • Programmer
  • Receptionist
  • Construction worker
  • Real estate agent
  • Freelancer (if you want to become a freelancer check our solution, My Hours, for time tracking, reporting, and invoicing)

Many part-time jobs can also be done from home. Today, when remote work is becoming extremely popular, (and necessary) working from home part-time can be a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Where to start with part-time work as an employer

As an employer, it makes sense to answer the following questions if you’re considering part-time work:

  • What work should be accomplished in the reduced hours?
  • How will the rest of the employee’s work be handled – if there is any? Can their position be logically split? Can you reassign some of their tasks, or will another employee be required?
  • How will the employee’s performance be evaluated?
  • How will the employee’s working hours be tracked?
  • What impact will part-time work have on the employee’s future? (career advancement, future hours, etc.)
  • Will the employee be flexible when there is an emergency or temporary work overload?
  • Will customers or colleagues suffer as a result?

As in any flexible arrangement, it is of course very important that your company has established a system of communication and company data sharing, so that team members can pick up each other’s work and respond to urgent queries when needed.

Our time & attendance solution, All Hours, supports part-time work management

Here is how you can manage time & attendance of part-time workers in All Hours:

1. Set the ‘Shift Plan’ rule to any number of hours on any day of the week to create a desired work schedule combination, for instance 8 hours per day from Monday to Wednesday.

All Hours Global Time rules

2. Set the ‘Paid time’ rule for the time in which worked hours for each employee will be taken into account as paid time. Here we setup each day as paid to account for occasional shift changes giving employees more flexibility and avoiding manual corrections of hours.

All Hours Paid time

3. Set the ‘Required time’ rule according to the employee’s plan. If they are absent from the office during the required hours, this will be marked on their timeline as missing time.

All Hours required time

You can setup when Required Time start with the Shift Start rule. For instance, you can set the Shift Start rule to 9 AM.

All Hours shift start

Track your flexible work hours with All Hours. Try it out for free, all features included.

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30 Companies Hiring for Part-Time, Remote, Work-From-Home Jobs

Looking for the best part-time, remote work-from-home jobs? To help you start your search, here are the top 30 companies that commonly hire.

People seek part-time work for all kinds of reasons. Some want the freedom and flexibility that part-time work allows. Other people need to balance outside responsibilities with work. And sometimes people want to work, but not all the time.

Recently, we analyzed part-time job postings from our database and identified companies that frequently hire for part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs.

To view more information about the company and to see past online job openings, click the company name. If you’re a FlexJobs member, log in, and you’ll see full postings for open positions.


FlexJobs is the longtime leader in helping job seekers find the highest-quality remote, work-from-home, hybrid, and flexible jobs. You can sign up for a free trial or for premium-level access to our database of hand-screened job listings, as well as job search and career webinars and many other great resources! Learn today how FlexJobs can empower your job search!


administrative icon Top 30 Companies for Part-Time, Remote Jobs (Part-Time, Work-From-Home Jobs)

The company list below is based on an analysis of over 50,000 companies in FlexJobs’ database. These companies frequently post jobs with part-time schedules that are either partially or fully remote. “Part-time” in this analysis means the jobs required fewer than 35 hours per week.

1.Achieve Test Prep

Achieve Test Prep is an academic support organization that provides test preparation and college-education consulting services to adults and parents of college-bound children.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Appointment Setter
  • HR Generalist


Angi is a tech company offering a digital marketplace to connect millions of homeowners across the United States with verified home improvement professionals and services.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Content Editor
  • Content Researcher


BELAY is a fully remote virtual solutions company offering virtual administrative assistants, webmasters, bookkeepers, and services to help individuals and organizations grow.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Social Media Strategist
  • Executive Assistant

4.BKA Content

BKA Content, founded in 2009, is a writing, editing, and content-creation company with team members across the United States who provide affordable, on-page and off-page content solutions. The company’s specialties include branding, meta descriptions, press releases, blogs, landing pages, and product descriptions, among others.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Webpage Rewrite Content Writer
  • Custom Blog Writer


Edmentum provides educational solutions to 8,000 school districts nationwide. Edmentum’s products include Study Island, Courseware, EdOptions Academy, Calvert Learning, ESL ReadingSmart, Exact Path, Assessments, Reading Eggs, and EducationCity.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Teacher, Math
  • Teacher, Spanish


Equivity is a 100% remote virtual assistance services company that offers consulting, insurance, finance, legal, real estate, technology, and other services to help “busy professionals lead more personally fulfilling and productive lives.”

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Virtual Paralegal
  • Virtual Email Marketing Specialist

7.Expert Business Development

Expert Business Development (EBD) is a boutique business development firm that helps clients generate and maintain crucial business contacts. Working primarily with financial service organizations, such as banks and credit unions, Expert Business Development provides sales strategy design, database development, appointment setting, lead management, and e-marketing services.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • B2B Lead Generation Specialist
  • Lead Generation Specialist


FlexProfessionals is a privately-held staffing and recruiting firm specializing in flexible work arrangements for seasoned professionals in broad fields, including finance, project management, technical and proposal writing, sales, marketing, office management, public relations, human resources, web development, and graphic design.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Recruiter
  • Capital Markets Administrative Assistant

9.Grand Rounds Health

Grand Rounds Health provides an employer-based solution to help employees and their families decide whether or not to receive medical treatment and where to get it. Additionally, the company works to help patients get the healthcare they need when they need it without having to visit a traditional doctor’s office.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist


GreatAuPair provides an international, online network for caregivers and families to safely and conveniently connect. Since 2001, its trusted job-matching service has helped 1.8 million people safely hire home workers for their loved ones.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Cultural Exchange Local Childcare Coordinator


Throughout its global operation, Kaplan is committed to helping students achieve their academic goals. With this mission and mindset, the company supports over 1 million students worldwide.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Editor I
  • MCAT Prep Instructor


Since 1946, Kelly has pioneered workforce solutions in the staffing industry, connecting skilled workers with top businesses and Fortune 100 companies in a broad range of industries.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Customer Account Specialist
  • Data Analyst – Cognos


Kforce is a professional solutions firm that works with top employers nationwide to build and manage elite teams within the fields of technology and accounting & finance.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Copywriter
  • Service Manager

14.LanguageLine Solutions

LanguageLine Solutions was established to provide a more effective communication method for non-English speakers. Today, the company is a leading provider of face-to-face, over-the-phone, and videoconference interpreting and document translation services.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Hawaiian Interpreter
  • Turkmen Interpreter


ModSquad modernizes outsourcing services that “lighten the load of digital engagement” for some of the world’s most prestigious global brands. The company serves a varied clientele that includes startups, international agencies, global corporations, and Fortune 500 enterprises.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Gaming Moderation Support – German Language
  • Gaming Support, French Language


Pearson is a publicly-traded, international learning company offering an extensive range of content, tools, products, and services for educators and learners of all ages.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Theater Scorer
  • Writing Tutor


Prof360 is a woman- and minority-owned startup that specializes in simplifying rapid hiring cycles, particularly for part-time faculty in the higher education landscape.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Adjunct Faculty for Forensic Victimology
  • Adjunct Faculty for United States History

18.Profit Factory

The company provides educational and consulting services to entrepreneurs and owners of companies of all sizes to help them streamline their processes, projects, and people.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Virtual Assistant
  • Executive Assistant

19.Rasmussen University

Rasmussen University is a for-profit, private institution of higher learning offering associate’s and bachelor’s degrees from campuses across Minnesota and in several other states.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Adjunct Instructor – Art in the World and the Workplace
  • Adjunct Instructor – Healthcare Financial Management and Economics

20.Soliant Health

Soliant Health places professionals in a broad range of specialized disciplines, including surgical technologists; registered nurses; occupational, physical, speech, and respiratory therapists; cytologists, histologists, and medical lab technicians; family practice physicians, internists, and psychiatrists; pharmacy technicians and pharmacists; and CT, MRI, radiology, ultrasound, and sleep technicians.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Speech Language Pathologist

21.Southern New Hampshire University – SNHU

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a nonprofit, private institution of higher education offering a variety of over 200 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate degree programs. It caters to all types of students, offering evening, weekend, hybrid, and online courses.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Adjunct Faculty – Literature
  • Adjunct Faculty – Health Information Management

22.Strayer University

Strayer University is a private educational facility with more than 60,000 students enrolled. Strayer University specializes in higher education for working adults seeking career advancement.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Adjunct Faculty in Public Relations – Undergraduate
  • Adjunct Faculty in Business Strategy

23.Stride, Inc.

Stride serves children, teenagers, and families nationwide with web-based, interactive classes and learning modules that combine in-person, online, and blended instruction techniques to meet the unique learning needs of every student.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • High School Social Studies Teacher
  • Middle School English Teacher

24.Supporting Strategies

Supporting Strategies specializes in on-demand, outsourced accounting services for small businesses, such as payroll and human resource administration; accounts payable and expense management; financial reporting, budgeting, and analysis; revenue recognition, customer invoicing, and accounts receivable; and bookkeeping and month-end close.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Bookkeeper
  • Virtual Staff Accountant

25.TELUS International

A world leader in language translation and localization services, TELUS International offers content and testing, global marketing, machine intelligence, multilingual websites, and engineering services.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Online Data Analyst
  • Spanish Speaking Search Engine Evaluator


TranscribeMe is a leading information technology and services company specializing in worldwide translation services.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Transcriptionist – Transcriber

27.Varsity Tutors

Varsity Tutors, a Nerdy company, is a nationally recognized company connecting students with personalized tutoring services in both academic and test prep subject areas.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Online Middle School Tutor
  • Online High School Tutor

28.VIQ Solutions

VIQ Solutions is self-described as the global expert in digital recording technology, and the company’s mission is to help clients transform their digital content into actionable information.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Law Enforcement Transcript Editor
  • Insurance Investigations – Transcript Editor

29.Walden University

Following a student-centered philosophy, Walden University focuses on meeting the unique needs of working adults pursuing advanced degrees.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Faculty, Contributing – Bachelor of Science, Social Work
  • Clinical Instructor – MS Nursing, Adult Gerontology Primary Care NP


Welocalize provides product- and content-translation services to companies. The translation solutions offered by Welocalize are flexible, customizable, and include support throughout the process of product development to entering the market.

Recent part-time, remote, work-from-home jobs:

  • Ads Quality Rater – Mandarin – Simplified Chinese
  • Marketing SEO Specialist


clock icon Part-Time, Remote Jobs Hiring Now


news icon Popular Categories for Part-Time, Work-From-Home Jobs

Historically, some of the most popular job categories for part-time, online jobs include:


check mark icon Using FlexJobs to Find a Part-Time, Work-From-Home Job

Part-time work is generally under 30 or 35 hours per week. How the part-time schedule is defined, though, typically depends on the employer’s needs and sometimes the worker’s preference as well. This is usually determined by a combination of how much the worker wants to work and how many hours a company would like. Most part-time job listings include an estimate or range of hours needed for the role.

Whatever your reason for seeking part-time work that can be done remotely, as you can see, there are tons of stay-at-home job opportunities across a variety of job titles and fields.

FlexJobs members get full access to our job postings every day. Not a member? Consider joining and get full access to the database, which includes the best work-from-home jobs, along with other perks available only to members.

Take the tour and learn more about how FlexJobs can power your job search.

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Work part time

Five Strategies of Successful Part-Time Work

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Most professionals start working part-time to create solutions in their lives. They have young children, want to get MBAs, need to care for aging parents. All too often, though, part-time work creates as many problems as it solves. In the best-case scenario, many part-timers end up working more hours than they intended. In the worst case, they see their importance to their organizations slowly but surely fade away. Now, though, after two generations have wrestled with such arrangements, some part-time professionals have found strategies that are succeeding.

Notice that we say the part-time professionals themselves have found these solutions. For even though most executives would agree, at this point, that part-time work can benefit an organization, it’s still up to the part-timers to do most of the heavy lifting. That’s true for two reasons. The first is simple: overload. Making a part-time arrangement work takes time, energy, and creativity. Most executives, stressed already with too many day-to-day challenges to list here, see the design and maintenance of part-time work arrangements as just one more hassle. Second, most organizations give executives little in the way of guidelines or policies to help them manage part-time work. So managers have little incentive to get involved. Part-time professionals, then, are on their own in relatively uncharted territory. And, inevitably, mapmaking falls to the explorers themselves.

For the past two years, we have investigated part-time work as part of a wide-ranging research project examining issues surrounding work-life balance in the United States and Canada. We interviewed 30 part-time professionals in eight organizations, large and small, as well as 27 of their colleagues and managers. Our sample included engineers, financial analysts, information technology specialists, and consultants, among others. About 80% of the part-timers we spoke to were female, largely because so much of part-time work is driven by child care issues, which most often affect women.

Our research revealed strong commonalities in the approaches of successful part-time professionals. Specifically they

  • make their work-life priorities, schedules, and (if possible) plans for the future transparent to the organization;
  • broadcast the business cases for their arrangements and the nondisruptive—even positive—impact on results;
  • establish routines to protect their time at work and rituals to protect their time at home;
  • cultivate champions in senior management who not only protect them from skeptics but actively advocate for their arrangements up and down the ranks;
  • gently but firmly remind their colleagues that, despite their part-time status, they’re still in the game and cannot be ignored.

At first read, some of these strategies may sound familiar—they are, you may be thinking, the same tactics successful full-time professionals use to balance the demands of work and personal life. But look again. The means may be similar, but the end is different. Part-timers use these strategies to generate a protective environment. They’re seeking to reduce resentment from full-time colleagues, which can result in marginalization. They’re trying to decrease the ambiguity that may confuse their managers, colleagues, families—and sometimes even themselves. And they’re aiming to make the organization more comfortable with the concept of part-time work. In the following pages, we’ll take a look at these strategies in action. But first, a few words on what our research revealed about the general state of part-time professionals in business today.

The Part-Timer’s Lot

Although nearly 10% of the professional labor force now works part-time, our research found that most part-time jobs are still based on informal agreements. Created on the fly by the part-timers and their bosses, these arrangements are continually adjusted to match the changing demands of work (such as a major client presentation) and home (a child’s bout with the flu, say). When organizations do have formal policies about such benefits for part-timers as vacation time and sick pay, they usually serve as rough guidelines only. We found that even in the same company different part-time professionals could work under different terms concerning hours, pay, and benefits. In one department of an organization we studied, for instance, mothers returning from maternity leave were routinely granted part-time positions. In a unit two floors up, such an arrangement was unheard of. “Not even on the docket for discussion,” was how one manager put it.

What’s more, our research revealed, many part-time professionals feel that neither their colleagues nor the organization respects them. Many part-timers told us they took a lot of jibes about their assumed lack of commitment to work and about their “privileges,” such as leaving early. And while most part-timers typically dismissed the razzing as a minor annoyance, they said some discrimination felt very real. Some, for example, were housed in their organization’s “low-rent” district where, unlike other professionals, they shared office space with other part-timers. And most lost their eligibility to share in the year-end bonus pool. As one part-time financial analyst put it: “You’d really have to stand on your head, I think, to beat someone for a bonus who is full-time.‘You’re part-time,’ they say, ‘so how could you possibly achieve beyond expectations?’ But if I exceed expectations in the days that I’m here, then I should be just as eligible for a bonus as any full-timer.”

Many part-time professionals feel that neither their colleagues nor the organization respects them.

Most part-timers told us they accepted the consequences of their status as part of the deal. But they also said that sometimes their confidence was eroded, and they questioned whether the arrangement was worth the effort. “Whenever someone questions my position, it sparks a thousand questions in my mind,” said a director of client accounts at a worldwide public relations firm. “Am I adding as much value as everybody else? Am I learning the high-tech stuff quickly enough when I am away so often?” Such feelings of inadequacy, some part-timers revealed, can bleed into their personal lives. As the same woman added, “When I’m at work and it seems so hard to pull off a part-time job, I wonder, ‘Is my daughter happy when I’m not at home?’”

Perceived discrimination, we found, makes many part-timers feel defensive about their status, which can put them on the offensive. One executive we interviewed didn’t even tell her clients that she worked part-time. “I was worried they’d think I wasn’t committed or wouldn’t get the work done. So if a meeting came up on a Thursday or Friday, I’d be there or I’d send someone for me. I was always accessible by phone and e-mail.” Another part-timer told us she had become so defensive about her status that she took steps at work that ultimately undermined the very flexibility she sought from her part-time arrangement. If special training was offered on her day off, for instance, she’d still attend, or if a child was ill on the day of a big meeting, she’d still send him to school. When a big project was due, she’d work nights and weekends. “It’s worth it,” she told us, “so the organization knows I am as committed to them as they are to me.”(Incidentally, this woman was not part of the group of part-time professionals from which we drew our conclusions about successful strategies.)

Perceived discrimination makes many part-timers feel defensive about their status, which can put them on the offensive.

These stories are extreme cases. But nearly all of our respondents admitted that work regularly crept into the private areas of their lives. Study participants typically encouraged emergency calls at home, attended important meetings during their scheduled time off, and used technology to stay in touch with work. True, these practices were usually described as exceptions, but they happened often enough to suggest that the boundary between work and home is difficult to protect.

Fortunately, the picture for part-time professionals is not entirely grim—far from it. Let’s take a look at the strategies that part-timers have devised to make their unique status a success.

Strategy 1: Successful part-time professionals make their work-life priorities, schedules, and (if possible) plans for the future transparent to the organization.

Although the majority of part-time professionals are women seeking more time with their children, the reasons for alternative work arrangements vary as much as the professionals themselves. Some individuals in our study worked part-time in order to go back to school; others were caring for aging parents. It’s precisely because part-time professionals have such diverse motives that they need to be frank about their priorities. Such clarity paves the way for the open, honest communication on which part-time work thrives.

Would-be part-timers cannot assume their employers will automatically divine the reasons for moving to part-time status. Many bosses will shy away from knowing anything about an employee’s private life in a well-intentioned effort to respect her privacy. But not knowing the part-timer’s “life story,” so to speak, has its consequences. A number of managers and coworkers in our study, for instance, were remarkably reluctant to contact part-timers at home. Ironically, this usually added to the part-time professionals’ workloads: once back in the office, they had to correct festering problems that could easily have been resolved through a quick call.

The most successful part-timers in our study avoided such land mines by clearly explaining to bosses and colleagues why they were working part-time, what kinds of intrusions on their home time were acceptable, and even how long they planned to stay part-time. In short, they were explicit about their priorities. One successful part-time professional, for instance, announced in writing to a wide swath of her coworkers that she was working part-time so that she could be with her young daughter in the afternoons but that she still considered her work central to her life and looked forward to returning to working full-time in 18 months. Another woman made her priorities explicit, saying she was working 20 hours a week because she had entered an eight- to ten-year time in her life when her family came first, period. These two approaches to part-time work imply two very different relationships between the part-timer and the organization. Both can succeed, however, because they are perfectly clear.

Our research showed that the more explicit employees can be about their priorities, the greater the chances are that they can sit down with their managers and shape mutually satisfying working arrangements. When part-timers clearly articulate their needs, employers can work out what degree of commitment to expect, not just at the beginning but throughout the arrangement. Consider a systems analyst for a major oil company. When he first approached his managers, he was blunt about his personal priorities: “I told them I wanted to participate more in the rearing of my children and I wanted to start my MBA. I explained that I wanted to work part-time—and, for me, that was nonnegotiable.” This tough stance gave both the analyst and his management a clear understanding of what he needed as they worked together to design a feasible solution. They ended up forging an unusually favorable part-time deal for two years. The analyst would work two days a week, and the organization agreed that he would not be required to stretch his work commitments without ample notice. The analyst’s project manager agreed to take up some of the slack when he, the analyst, was out of the office. The manager was prepared to step in, she explained, because the analyst had a stellar track record, and she was confident that he was making the project’s success a priority.

Like the systems analyst, all the successful part-timers in our study were individuals who had formerly done outstanding full-time work. Indeed, part-time work is not a viable route for anyone who hasn’t already demonstrated superiority in a traditional setting. Successful part-timers know the company ropes. They’ve learned the organization’s rules, they’ve mastered those rules, and now they’re ready to change them. Of course, not every part-time professional can—or wants to—set down such unequivocal terms. But making their new priorities transparent to the organization will help professionals outperform in their part-time positions just as they did when they were full-time.

Strategy 2: Successful part-time professionals broadcast the business cases for their arrangements and the nondisruptive—even positive—impact on results.

Simply put, the main reason most bosses and colleagues object to part-time work is that they suspect it will disrupt the business. They’re afraid work won’t get done on time or that other people, already at full capacity, will need to pick up the part-timer’s unwanted assignments. These worries are legitimate. That’s why the successful part-timers in our study did not ignore or gloss over them. They addressed them head on.

First, many part-timers help their organizations to see that the arrangement makes more sense than a complete departure. This always needs to be handled with subtlety, for obvious reasons. No one likes to hear,“Consider yourself lucky you’ve got me at all!” But there is really no reason for being so direct. Bosses know that part-timers have successful track records—as well as insider knowledge, existing relationships, and technical expertise. They need only a slight nudge to remind them what would happen if a part-timer were to move to the competition.

Second, successful part-timers publicize the business cases for their arrangements by demonstrating that the work is still getting done, well and on time. One fundamental way they do this is by building strong alliances with their colleagues. In fact, the successful part-timers in our study involved their coworkers as much as possible in the initial transition from full-time status. One customer service engineer, for example, discussed the shift to part-time with all the members of her team before she raised the idea formally: “Politically, it would have been impossible for my boss to turn me down.”

Nevertheless, a part-time arrangement will in fact change the way work gets done. In consulting businesses, for instance, with their high premium on service, the part-timer will not always be available to the client. Extra work will inevitably spill over to coworkers, causing friction among even the best-oiled groups. Therefore, successful part-timers go to great lengths to reassure colleagues that they are not simply entitled to special privileges. At times, this means reminding people that although they work less, part-timers also earn less.

At all times, it is important for part-timers to frame the extra responsibilities that fall on coworkers and subordinates as opportunities. Thus, the successful part-timer is careful to delegate work around her colleagues’ development needs by, for instance, having a compatriot who needs to work on facilitation skills lead a meeting the part-timer is not going to. In this way, she can help coworkers benefit from the extra work they’re given.

Finally, creating a business case for a reduced schedule often requires part-timers to redesign their work so that they, in effect, end up doing the same amount of work but more efficiently. Those part-timers we studied who were able to achieve this heightened productivity were almost always highly motivated, committed self-starters. Consider a customer service manager for a phone company. She took the job on a half-time basis. Her predecessor had held the same job full-time. The work content didn’t diminish at all. In fact, it increased. But the service manager now gets the job done in half the time.

This is often the case. All the successful part-timers in our study had rich anecdotal evidence of their ability to squeeze more work into less time. And the managers interviewed in our study agreed. Said a manager of two engineers who worked part-time: “We probably get as much productivity out of our part-time professionals as we do from some of the employees who are here five days a week.”

Strategy 3: Successful part-time professionals establish routines to protect their time at work and rituals to protect their time at home.

Our study showed that successful part-timers approach the pace and flow of their work in a wide variety of ways. One financial analyst at an electric utility, for instance, spread out her days in the office, working Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The benefit, she claimed, was that she stayed in touch with the work situation, and her mind was less likely to drop out of work mode. But another professional in our study—an account executive at a major oil company—stayed focused by doing just the reverse. She worked Monday through Wednesday every week.

No matter what their schedules, successful part-time professionals establish routines that are transparent to their colleagues and bosses and help them separate work and home in their own minds. From the company’s perspective, we found, the nature of the routine selected is much less important than its sheer regularity. Similarly, the successful part-timers in our study demarcated home and work with personalized rituals, which again served to clarify where they were and when.

But successful part-timers don’t stop at organizing their own work. They pay attention to how the work is flowing when they’re not around, as well. One systems analyst, for example, described how colleagues would let work slide until Thursday because they knew she wouldn’t be coming into the office until then. This led her to establish monitoring routines in which she hounded people virtually on her days off. Every day or so, she left voice-mail and e-mail messages ensuring that the flow of work continued smoothly. Communication routines let her know when she needed to put her foot down. They also let her colleagues know that she was never very far away.

Routines, of course, are easier praised than actually practiced. Business is always in flux; emergencies happen. Meetings come up unexpectedly, often throwing the airtight schedule of the part-timer into disarray. That’s why in establishing their routines part-timers need to set some judicious rules about their participation in meetings.

Now it might seem logical for part-timers to attend all the meetings they can when they’re in the office: after all, missing meetings on days off is already something of a political statement. It implies, “ I don’t care about this organization’s pecking order. I come and go as I please.” Few part-timers deliberately want to make such a statement. But our research suggests that a surprising number of successful part-time professionals miss meetings even on days when they are in the office, as part of their standard routine. One systems analyst we interviewed was emphatic about the need to protect her work time: “I tend to avoid meetings like the plague because they’re a waste of time.” In fact, successful part-timers draw on their insider knowledge of organizational routines to make tough judgment calls about which meetings they can safely ignore and which they need to attend.

Now for rituals, which are important, we found, because they fortify the boundaries between work and home that part-timers need to sustain their delicate arrangements. So one part-timer described how every week, come what may, he coaches his daughter’s basketball team and attends all the games. Another part-timer who doesn’t work on Fridays deliberately leaves her laptop at work on Thursday nights. Still another professional fills up her home time with piano lessons and sewing classes. “ I’m not a schedule person,” she said,“but I’ve consciously scheduled my time.”

Unlike routines, rituals often have a symbolic component in that they force part-time professionals to invest not only time but also emotion into something. We heard from a number of part-timers who regularly participated in a range of community groups, from gardening clubs to dance troupes to Bible study groups. These activities demand a commitment from part-timers to people and places that are unrelated to work—and often unrelated to children and home. These rituals that part-time professionals erect in their lives are among the most effective because they genuinely break connections with the known world and forge new ties.

Strategy 4: Successful part-time professionals cultivate champions in senior management who not only protect them from skeptics but actively advocate for their arrangements up and down the ranks.

The idiosyncratic nature of part-time work makes each part-time professional an organizational innovator, with all the risks that innovation implies. And, as with any risky investment, the part-time position often requires a sponsor, someone who can influence the way the company views the shift to part-time work. Consider the experience of an IT specialist working at a gas pipeline company. She was stressed out, losing weight, and finding it impossible to do her job while raising three children. Although her coworkers were compassionate, they couldn’t see how a part-time arrangement could work out without harming them. Without some senior-level support, the IT specialist wasn’t going to get anywhere. But she fought hard for a change in status. She talked to a wide range of potential champions until finally she found a sympathetic ear. Although he didn’t have an immediate solution, he was able to find another person looking to go part-time. Eventually, he arranged a job they could share.

All the successful part-timers in our study had champions in senior management who helped them overcome obstacles that would otherwise have caused them to fail. That was particularly true for women coming back from maternity leave who assumed (mistakenly) that there would automatically be workable part-time jobs waiting for them when they got back. Champions also play important roles after the work arrangements have been settled. Often, they run interference with clients, managers, and colleagues who may believe that part-timers aren’t holding up their end of the bargain. Champions often have to intervene with clients to protect part-timers from excessive customer demands. But champions also make sure that managers are aware of part-timers’ contributions and potential so that companies consider these professionals for promotions, bonuses, and choice assignments.

Finally, champions keep part-timers in the loop. They make sure that the part-timer knows what’s going on behind the scenes. One champion, for instance, warned his part-time systems analyst that he hadn’t been visible enough in the past couple months: “I think you need to go and talk to your team,” the champion said. “A few people are reportedly unhappy that you’ve been so aloof lately.” Over time, a good champion accepts some responsibility for making the part-time position work, becoming the part-timer’s mentor and protector.

There’s no single profile of the ideal champion, but our study found them all to be highly networked change agents—individuals accustomed to using their charisma to influence people at every level of the company. They also tended to be sympathetic to the plight of part-timers because their own spouses or partners were also trying to navigate the challenges of part-time work. Their support of part-time work was, in other words, often quite personal.

Strategy 5: Successful part-time professionals gently but firmly remind their colleagues that, despite their part-time status, they’re still in the game and cannot be ignored.

In addition to needing a powerful champion, the part-timer must also build a strong network of allies in the organization to avoid becoming marginalized. Unfortunately, because of their intensified work schedules, part-time professionals often focus on work to the exclusion of making small talk in the corridors. As one consultant in a public relations firm put it: “I want to stay out of politics and all the stuff that floats around. I want to focus on my job. The rest bogs me down.”

Our research suggests that such behavior ultimately hurts a professional who already spends so much time away from the office. Office gossip, in particular, helps the part-timer stay tied in. In fact, staying connected turned out to be so important in our study that we’ve taken to defining a successful part-time professional as someone who can squander time productively at work. Consider Yvonne, the part-time financial analyst at the electric utility. She said that maintaining her social networks was one of the biggest factors in her success. “Some people say I only come in for lunch!” she said. “And I do have a lunch date almost every day that I come in. But that’s how I get the informal information I need to make the part-time position work.”

In addition to tuning in to gossip in these informal conversations, part-timers constantly need to emphasize what they have in common with their full-time colleagues. By saying, “I’m not so different from you,” part-timers can reassure coworkers that they’re not getting a special deal. Take the case of a senior auditor at the gas pipeline company, who successfully defused a coworker’s envy over her attendance at a training meeting. “He came up to me and said,‘What are you doing here? Do you get paid to be trained?’ ‘Yes,’ I gently replied. ‘Every employee does.’”

The real challenge for part-timers is making their presence felt when they are so often out of the office. Interestingly, every successful part-timer in our study had some trick for staying visible in the organization despite the many hours spent away from work. Some part-timers, for example, sent voice-mails on days when they weren’t in the office. Some managed their own projects—and championed others’ besides—to show they were very involved. One part-timer devised an elaborate series of meetings, planned and announced long in advance. “Just in case anyone has any doubts,” she said defiantly. “I’m around and intend to be for a long time.” Successful part-timers show that they cannot be ignored.

Every successful part-timer in our study had some trick for staying visible in the organization despite the many hours spent away from work.

Begun more than 20 years ago, part-time professional work is an experiment that has met with mixed results. In most cases, the arrangement is an attempt to give a woman more time to raise her family. But it is not necessarily a panacea for striking a balance between work and life. Many part-timers are forced to work longer hours than they contracted for, and many suffer under the second-class status of part-time work.

At the same time, part-time work makes organizations uncomfortable. It raises obvious questions about who will pick up the slack. And it raises more fundamental questions about the very nature of professional work itself. What exactly is a professional being paid for? Time or output? When limits are placed on time and pay, how should that fairly be reflected in the work?

Successful part-timers face such difficulties head on. The five strategies we’ve distilled from the experience of the successful part-timers work together to overcome these challenges. They not only help the part-timer deal with the organization but also make the organization itself more receptive to the possibilities of part-time work.

A version of this article appeared in the July–August 2001 issue of Harvard Business Review.

How I consistently study with a full time job (9 months in and still going strong)

6 Benefits of Working Part-Time Instead of Full Time

Working Part-Time Versus Full Time

With employers increasingly hiring more part-time workers and fewer full-time staffers, many in the workforce are considering the viability of part-time employment. Beyond the obvious income ramifications, there are hosts of advantages and disadvantages to consider when determining if the part-time employment model works for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Working part-time is ideal for family-oriented individuals – especially those who value the opportunity to pick up their young children from school.
  • Part-time workers enjoy increased free time in which to pursue extracurricular activities.
  • Not only can part-timers save on gas and car maintenance costs, but they may also be able to shave dollars from their monthly auto insurance premiums.

More Free Time to Pursue Other Projects and Activities

Arguably the biggest advantage of working part-time is the increased free time with which to pursue extracurricular activities. For those lacking the requisite academic credentials for their dream job, a part-time position may serve as a stepping stone that affords the flexibility to obtain the certification needed find roles in their desired profession. Others may use part-time jobs to climb the ladder within an existing field. For example, an individual with a social work degree can obtain part-time entry-level work that lets them simultaneously earn the graduate degree needed to land a more lucrative mental health job.

Part-time jobs also appeal to those nurturing special projects, such as writing, civic outreach, and artistic endeavors. Such pursuits offer immense personal fulfillment, even if they don’t bring in large paychecks.

Opening Doors to New Job Opportunities

When there are no full-time positions available within a given company, workers may accept part-time employment to position themselves as the obvious candidate when a coveted full-time slot becomes available. A part-time job can also help individuals gain experience and training in fields unfamiliar to them. After all, an employer who may be reluctant to hire an inexperienced person on a full-time basis, may be inclined to hire an eager candidate on a part-time basis if they express an enthusiastic desire to learn the trade.

Opportunity to Earn More Money

Although it may sound counter-intuitive, working part-time can sometimes enable an individual to make more money – especially if they are capable of balancing more than one job. For example, a person who pairs a 30 hour-per-week gig with another 20 hour-per-week gig may pull in a greater combined income than a single full-time position would provide. Furthermore, given that many full-time salaried positions demand 50- to 60-hour workweeks, this individual may still end up working fewer total hours.

Reduced Stress Levels and Improved Health

Studies show that full-time workers tend to feel worn out, due to insufficient time needed to exercise, enjoy the sunny outdoors, and generally commit to a healthy lifestyle. Contrarily, part-time workers have more time to hit the gym more often and get a better night’s sleep. Part-time employment also allows for more efficient management of daily tasks like grocery shopping, doing the laundry, and completing other household chores, ultimately resulting in more order at home.

Paradoxically, voluntary part-time workers often experience decreased financial stress, because they conform spending to align with their income. This behavior is antithetical to the phenomenon known as lifestyle inflation, where one’s expenses actually expand with increased income. In other words: those capable of adjusting to a slightly lower standard of living often discover that working fewer hours is favorable to the demands of working full time.

The Importance of Family

Working part-time is ideal for family-oriented individuals – especially those who value the opportunity to pick up their children from school. Furthermore, part-timers may save on day care expenses, which may exceed the extra money earned by working full-time.

Although a certain income level is necessary to provide for one’s family, those who earn just enough to pay for essential living expenses, while sacrificing luxury goods, may find short-term work to be an unacceptable trade-off.

Saving Money on Transportation Costs

One possible situational advantage to part-time work lies in the area of transportation costs. Case in point: an individual who finds part-time work near their home may save more on transportation expenses than those who commute an hour or more daily to a full-time job. Not only can part-timers save on gas and car maintenance costs, but they may also shave dollars from their monthly auto insurance premiums, which are often mileage-dependent.


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What Is a Part-Time Employee?

A part-time employee is someone who works fewer hours than what an employer considers to be full-time. The exact amount of hours is determined by each employer, and it can vary between companies.

Learn more about part-time employees, the types that exist, and the benefits of hiring them.

What Is a Part-Time Employee?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not define what constitutes a part-time employee. It's up to individual employers to make this classification.

Generally, part-time employees work fewer hours than full-time employees. But employers determine the exact amount of hours their employees must work to be considered part-time or full-time.

The FLSA protects part-time and full-time employees in the same way.

How Part-Time Employees Work

The classification of a part-time worker is based on the company's standard work schedule. Consequently, the definition of a part-time employee will vary from organization to organization. An employer usually defines what it considers to a part-time employee and publishes that in its employee handbook.

It's important to note that as work environments evolve, so does what constitutes full-time and part-time work. Traditionally, employers in the U.S. had identified a standard, full-time work week as being 40 hours. So many companies defined part-time employees as those who worked less than that standard 40-hour work week. Today, though, some employers count employees as full-time if they work fewer than 35 hours a week, and others have part-time employees who work 34 hours a week.

In many organizations, one differentiation between full-time and part-time employees is eligibility for benefits, such as health insurance, paid time off (PTO), paid vacation days, and sick leave. Some organizations enable part-time employees to collect a pro-rated set of benefits. In other organizations, part-time status means an employee cannot receive benefits.

In many cases, employees who are considered part-time are eligible to work overtime hours, and they must earn overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a work week.

Types of Part-Time Employees

There are many ways to be a part-time employee. Some people may choose to hold multiple part-time jobs at different organizations instead of working for one company. Others may work part-time because they can't or don't want to commit to a full-time position.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts part-time workers into two categories: those who work part-time for economic reasons (also known as involuntary part-time workers) and those who do so for non-economic reasons.

Economic reasons include lack of work, poor business conditions, inability to find full-time work, and seasonal declines in demand. Noneconomic reasons include illness or other medical limitations, childcare or other family obligations, attending school or training, being in partial retirement, or having another job.

A variety of companies across most fields hire part-time workers. The retail, hospitality, and foodservice industries are known for hiring many part-time employees. Some companies may choose to hire part-time workers to complete specific projects or work during certain seasons. And other organizations hire part-time employees to fill in the gaps that their full-time positions aren't covering.

Advantages of Hiring Part-Time Employees

Many employers hire part-time employees to cut down on their costs of labor. They can save substantially by not offering benefits to part-time staff. For a small business owner who is hiring first employees, starting with part-time staff is less risky in terms of financial commitment.

Other companies consider hiring part-time employees to expand their ability to recruit qualified employees. For example, a stay-at-home parent may have the exact qualifications a company needs, but the individual is only available to work outside of the home from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Another advantage of hiring part-time employees is that companies have the opportunity to try an employee out before committing to hiring them full time. It helps employers assess the individual's cultural fit, job fit, skills, and ability to learn and contribute.

Additionally, not all jobs require the services of an employee full time, and combining jobs may not fit the employee's skill set.

Key Takeaways

  • The definition of part-time work is defined by each employer and can vary across organizations.
  • Part-time employees generally work fewer hours than what an employer considers to be full-time.
  • Many types of industries and companies hire part-time workers for various reasons.
  • Hiring part-time workers offers many benefits to employers.

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