I’m supposed to work part time, but the load is full time

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Question: “I work in a small office of 10 employees (an insurance company).  I work 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; all the other employees work full time. At times I need to pass work to others to handle in the afternoon hours. When I take the issues to the supervisor, she directs me to distribute the work to other employees, which they don't appreciate. I get that. But my absence in the afternoon means that others are fielding my return customer calls. Regarding accountability and productivity, I feel that my boss and owner want to see completion of a full-time work load in 62.5% time. Any advice on the best way to handle this? —B.B.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy M February 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm

I recently went from full time to part time (not my choice) and I clearly state on my Outlook signature line and my VM message what my hours are and who to contact for urgent matters. I have learned to push back and not accept work or projects that I won’t be able to complete in a timely manner due to my hours, or give a realist time frame for completion. I update my boss daily about my workload and project status.

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Part-time working mom February 17, 2012 at 11:53 pm

I shifted my hours to more like 10am to 3 pm so I can get the kids off to school and also get some morning exercise in before I sit at a desk for 5 hours straight, (even though it means I have to race home to beat the school bus)… I’ve found it does make me feel like I’m more in the loop when I arrive later/stay later in afternoon…and of course it’s nice to miss a.m. rush hour.

But I really appreciate the flexibility to go w/ the work flow, my family obligations as needed… not every day is there something that I must finish up or hand off which makes up for the days I work “late.” I keep track of the hours I work each day/week so that, over the pay period I come up to the number of hours my boss hired me to work.

Labor laws say that part-time, nonexempt employees are not supposed to ‘ghost’ hours or be pressured to. Since I get paid hourly, they don’t want me to work “overtime” as they’d have to pay me more than they budgeted for the position.

When I am covering for someone on vacation I’ll ask my boss if he wants me to take some work home to meet a deadline. Usually the answer is, “no, just do it tomorrow.” or like your boss said, “see if so and so can do it.”
I end up doing a lot of work related reading at home(no charge) …it helps me in my job and makes me feel like a better employee and makes the job more interesting…After a year here, I still don’t feel quite like “part of the team” or have the influence I used to when I worked at other jobs full time. But that’s my choice.
btw I really enjoying getting off each afternoon when there is still daylight… (much later, I’ll be cooking dinner at 7pm and look at the clock and shudder to think in my old full time job I could easily still be at my desk.) For me, part-time is WAY better for work life balance than full time work…which always turns into more than full time. But it does take some getting used to.

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NonAdmin February 17, 2012 at 11:32 am

I am imagining that you chose those specific hours to accomodate dropping off/picking up children at school, as I am a mother of 3 young children myself. If this is the case then Amy’s suggestion would not work for you obviously.

I do agree with the others that suggest you leave your office hours with the tag of, “If you need to call back outside of those hours please feel free to be in contact with Sue. I will be sure to leave your file with her in my absence.”

Good luck.

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Cynthia February 17, 2012 at 8:17 am

Having experience being part-time, I suggest leaving the times when you are in the office. Also provide a specific person to contact is they are unable to call during your available hours. This would also decrease resentment with the other staff member. Most people would be happy to schedule a return call on their lunch/break time to speak directly with you.

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Debbie February 17, 2012 at 7:49 am

I think every employer wants to get as much work out of each employee as possible. I agree with Amy when she says if your employer wanted you to do ALL the work, they would not be telling you to hand it off to other employees. I personally would let people I know who I speak with when I was available and maybe that would allow you to have follow-up the next day. If the customers would prefer to finish up that day, then your co-workers would have to pick that up. It is also may be a good idea to change your hours as Amy suggested as many people can only return personal phone calls when they get home from work.

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Mark February 16, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I hate to be a me-too, but I was going to say almost exactly what Amy said.

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Amy February 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm

If your supervisor is directing you to pass the work off, I don’t think she wants you to complete full-time work with part-time hours. Otherwise, she would be telling you to complete it yourself.

To avoid having to hand items off each day, could you shift your hours so that you come in later in the morning and leave at closing time? That might help with you being able to get your return calls, since it sounds like that is the timeframe when people get back to you. Your supervisor would probably be happy to accomodate if it will make everyone more productive.

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