Thursday, April 06, 2006

Part time work

I went to a lunchtime presentation today from one of last year's AFR Boss Young Executives of the Year, Jane Adams. She is a COO at a recruitment consultant, and is part-time - works three days a week (which was not part of the criteria for the award). She talked a little bit about how she manages being part-time, which she views as a very tricky skill.

She said that she tries very much to downplay it. She doesn't have a picture of her daughter on her desk, and she asks the admin staff not to mention it when she leaves on Thursday for her four days at home. She also asks them talk to her about changing her days, rather than refusing meetings on her days off. She also spends a lot of time being contactable on the phone or email at home.

I didn't ask this question, but it does sound as if she manages it by working more than three days a week, in reality. It is great that someone with such a senior role is working part time in a public way (it was mentioned in the magazine article about her award), and she is probably working to the same extent as someone full time in such a senior role.

I was talking to a colleague on the way back, and neither of us could imagine a way we could do our current roles part time. There is just too much interaction with others needed. If I worked in a less centralised company, with more meetings by phone, then maybe I could get away with doing some from home. But I do spend most of my time in meetings.


At 1:39 pm, Blogger Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I work part-time (truly) and I also down-play it. Recently I had a snafu caused by my needing to take additional time off during our spring break, and the "how can we avoid this in the future" response was that I'd put an out-of-office reply on my email. But I hate to do it, because that makes it so obvious. I think people will 1 be jealous that I have so much "vacation" (ha ha) and 2 think I'm not serious. Also, like the lady you mentioned, I often check email on my days off & if there's something urgent -- very, very rare -- then I respond. However I did try it this week & it did work wonders for managing people's expections.

I do all my communicating by email. No meetings. Phone calls are maybe 2x/month. This partly works because I used to be in the office daily, and I know everyone already. And partly because I'm a web developer.


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