Flexible Working Hours Can Be Beneficial For Both The Employer And The Employee

A recent Guardian article highlighted how an increasing number of Britons are going part-time. The reasons for why a worker would choose to do this are varied. Older generations, particularly those in medical professions, are looking to wind down their careers as they approach retirement. Elsewhere, members of the workforce are working four days a week due to family commitments, to have a bit more of a social life, or simply to avoid burnout in an increasingly demanding and competitive employment landscape.

An interesting sub-section of these perennial part-timers were identified by the writer, Gaby Hinsliff, as the ‘Portfolio Millennials’. These young people, according to The Taylor Report, choose to diversify their source of income as they pursue a career in a sector where paid-work is comparatively hard to come by, such as art or journalism, otherwise they are forced in to such a position due to the volatile nature of the current job market. There are also some who simply want as many different jobs and skills on their CV as possible, in order to make them more employable.

Either way, it is a nifty solution. For a generation who are often accused of lacking a strong work ethic, young people are proving that they don’t mind rolling up their sleeves and trying their hand at all manor of different roles. This is a trait that should see employers relishing the chance to meet the young people half way, especially with burnout and resentment a real possibility for many employees.

In London, for example, the average amount of unpaid overtime a worker does is around 7.7 hours, according to the TUC, which means that people are working close to 48 hours a week. This level of engagement with work is generally unsustainable, and can lead to fatigue and sloppiness in many sectors, and in others, such as medical and manufacturing, it can be dangerous. Putting to one side the potential for malpractice, shorter shifts can actually lead to increased productivity and can prevent the potential for resentment a worker may feel towards the company if it has an adverse effect on their home life.

That is not to say all companies should force all their staff on to part-time contracts. Most employees would still rather work full-time due to financial constraints or because they enjoy the work, and employers should embrace such loyalty. But, for certain positions, part-time workers and shift work is a highly efficient and cost-effective way of maximising productivity, as well as giving more people a chance to show what they can do. Just because an employee starts off part-time isn’t to say they won’t want to stay on at the company, and if they are a fantastic worker who is also treated well, they will be more receptive to progression within an establishment further down the line.

And for the employees, especially those who are young and aren’t sure what type of career they’d like to pursue, a diverse portfolio of roles can be fantastic for a CV, and can provide invaluable experience for whatever the person decides to do on a more permanent basis. Putting oneself into a corner can be detrimental in the job market, and a varied set of skills can be the difference between getting the dream job and not.


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