The world of work is changing! After twenty years in Human Resources, I am convinced that our work weeks could easily be compressed to three or four days per week. It has been my experience that there are typically a lot of time wasters and distractions that occur everyday. People are not motivated to be focused and intentional with their time because they’re going to be there 40+ hours anyway. If we offered people that same weekly pay and gave them the option of working three, four or five days per week…what do you think will happen? Talk about balance! Our lives be transformed by the new found time for family, for creativity, for rest, for giving, etc.
This is a great article. Very happy to see the changes taking place in the work place these days.
80 hours a week. No work-life balance. All work, all the time. That’s the image people picture when they think of jobs in executive management. And for anyone who’s reached the pinnacle of their career and is ready for a little more balance in their life, those job traits aren’t appealing. But they’re just the type of person fit to do those jobs, so what are recruiters to do?
The good news is that there seems to be a trend in hiring executives with part-time schedules. That’s right–vice presidents, executive directors, and C-suite jobs that only require part-time hours. What’s behind this trend, and can you translate it to successful hires at your company?
Last year, Alison Maitland wrote a story called “The Part-Time Executive” for The Conference Board on the fact that “a growing number of top-level people are working less and accomplishing more.” In a study of 50 senior executives in the United Kingdom who work part-time, the vast majority was women, most had families, and their part-time schedules take a variety of shapes and sizes. Some work compressed work-weeks in four days, taking Fridays off. Others truly work part-time, being on-the-job for three days each week and off (but reachable) for the remaining four.
In some cases, these part-time executives are actually providing their services to multiple companies at a time, working almost as consultants. These arrangements benefit both professionals who find added job security by working for more than one employer, and companies who get excellent executive talent and experience at half the rate of a full-time role. The Boston Globe’s Katie Johnston Chase reported in 2011 that part-time executives generally don’t receive benefits like health insurance, stock options, or other traditional (and expensive) executive-level perks, which can save an organization thousands of dollars or more.
Timewise Jobs created a list of the Power Part-time Top 50 last year, detailing the top 50 executives who work part-time. Lea Paterson of Bank of England says it perfectly: “To be a good boss you need to be able to delegate, to recruit good staff, and to trust them to get on and do the work without checking on them every minute.” Paterson continues: “When you’re part-time, you’re forced to do this anyway.”
So, in recruiting part-time executives, the qualities that make the best candidates great leaders will also make them great part-time leaders. Other qualities that make excellent part-time executives include tremendous organizational abilities and communication skills.
The Power Part-Time Top 50 list includes executives from companies like Accenture, Bain & Company, Citi, EY, Google, IBM, and a host of other large and small companies. These part-time executives manage to lead large workforces, inspire excellence, and find work-life balance because of their adapted schedules.
A review of the FlexJobs database for executive management jobs finds that companies from a wide variety of industries are actively recruiting part-time executives. Executive Directors, Chief Financial Officers, and Medical Directors, are being hired by organizations like UnitedHealth Group and New York University, as well as smaller organizations like professional associations, regional health services companies, and environmental nonprofits.
As technology continues to broaden when, where, and how we work, creative hiring like part-time executives will become all the more common. And perhaps the image of the workaholic C-level professional will slowly become less so–a good thing for the future of work-life balance for workers at all levels.
Sara Sutton Fell is the CEO and founder of FlexJobs, an award-winning, innovative career website for telecommuting, flexible, freelance, and part-time job listings. She is also founder of 1 Million for Work Flexibility, an initiative dedicated to promoting flexible work options for all. Having worked in the world of online job searching since 1995, Sara has worked with hundreds of top HR departments on ways to improve their recruiting practices.