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“Part-timer” used to be a jibe; implying lack of commitment. Certainly “putting in the hours” has long been regarded as giving competitive advantage and essential for would be hospital consultants, entrepreneurs, and high achieving politicians. Margaret Thatcher used to sleep only a few hours a night and Boris Johnson reputedly does a day’s work before most of us get started.

Yet Michael Heseltine (no mean achiever as either a businessman or politician) was also an avid bird-watcher throughout that time and President Ronald Regan, I believe, always found time for an afternoon nap. So  hours are not the whole story;

and clearly Marks and Spencer don’t think so:

Indeed measuring contribution by time is a crude measure for those who whose  job doesn’t demand continuous attention. Working smarter, not harder (or longer) is a well established desire for most of us.

Innovation and inspiration often comes not from application to the task but from application to other activities from which a link is then made.

Thoughts for employers:

  • Give part-time work and job-shares serious consideration
  • Utilise modern technology to enable people to work together without being there at the same time.
  • Include performance related pay as a component in remuneration; a concept to be implemented with care but in which Employer Solutions has substantial experience
  •  Foster “Employee development” a concept used by Ford to engender responsibility, ownership and aspiration in its workforce. Employer Solutions can help with ideas
  • Explore alternative employment status; for example paying by project completed
  • Save NI costs by keeping hours low, so pay is below the lower earnings limit
  • Insist full timers take a proper lunch break. The “lunch hour” has largely disappeared but continuous working may be counter productive (and contravene the law!)
  • Review any “long hours culture”, some people can work long hours and be effective but it should not be assumed to be true for all