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Considering a move to reduced work hours?

Published in The Briefcase Diaries column at www.weewelcome.ca,  February 14, 2006

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Statistics indicate that Canadian companies will face a serious labour shortage in the next 5 to 10 years. A sizeable portion of the population will retire and there aren’t currently enough people in their 30s and 40s to fill the vacancies. The problem will be exasperated as a staggering number of professional women continue to leave the workforce because of the difficulties of managing work and family responsibilities.

What an incredible opportunity to demand more flexible work options – to change the beliefs and behaviours of our organizations and to participate in solving the work/life balance problem for ourselves and for future generations of parents. Employers, faced with a labour shortage, need to find creative ways to entice people like you back to work – even if it’s on a part-time basis.

  • Have confidence in your value as an employee.
    Stop worrying about how your desire to work reduced hours will affect your long term career opportunities. By the time you’re ready to work full-time again, it’s highly likely your company will need you! Badly.
  • Be clear about your needs and ask.
    Just ask! What’s the worst that can happen? They say “no”. Too many employees let corporate legends and untested assumptions get in the way of having a frank discussion with their manager. If you’re a solid performer, your manager will recognize it’s better to have you part of the time rather than not at all. One manager’s view on a particular work arrangement may not be the view of the company or of other managers. If your manager isn’t supportive, talk with Human Resources for their insight and advice.
  • Demonstrate to your employer how this arrangement will work
    Managers are busy people so do the work for them. Do your homework. Document the arrangement you are proposing and address the possible implications for all stakeholders.
  • Be prepared to leave!
    If your current employer can’t or won’t accommodate your needs, find one that will! Why work for an employer who doesn’t recognize the social benefits of your involvement with your children when there are many who do? Let unsupportive employers know why you’re leaving. As employee attrition rises, employers will need to address the root cause – make sure they know what it is! In many cases, faced with the possibility of losing a good employee, an employer will rethink their decision and find a way to accommodate you!

Related Tool: "Preparing a Reduced Work Hours Agreement"

Karen Todd is a professional speaker, writer, and consultant. She can be reached at 416-284-6752, karen@karentodd.com , or visit www.karentodd.com


Other Articles by Karen Todd
Connect with line managers and open the firm up to HR:
To play a lead role in organizational effectiveness HR must first gain manager’s trust
(Published in the Canadian HR Reporter, November 8, 2004)
Lessons learned from bad HR bosses
Published in the Canadian HR Reporter, May 9, 2005
Next to the CEO, the leader of the HR function can be the most influential and important person in an organization.
Creating a culture of feedback
360-degree feedback can be a way of life, not a program you impose
(Published in the Canadian HR Reporter, September 13, 2004)

Executive Assistants must use power, influence wisely
(Published in the Executive Assistant Update newsletter – December 2004)

Tell employees why they’re not getting promoted
Feedback can help staff avoid bitterness and maybe even get the next posting
(Published in the Globe and Mail, Career Section, September 15, 2002)
“Once Upon a Time…”
Tell a Story Instead

Published in York University Human Resources Student Association’s
The Network Newsletter, Edition 2, March 2005)
Planning an Employee Meeting:
Model the future you’re trying to create
Mat Leave not Mat Left
Published in The Briefcase Diaries column at www.weewelcome.ca , November 25, 2005
Where Has Common Sense Gone?
A Grocery Store Service Saga
Ditch the Cape, Supermom
Published in The Briefcase Diaries column at www.weewelcome.ca,  October 7, 2005
Is Working From Home For You?
Unexpected Choices
(Published in the Canadian Down Syndrome Society Quarterly Newsletter, Winter 2005, Vol 18.1)
Please be Balanced: A Parent’s Ask of Healthcare Professionals
Published in the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities’ Journal on Development Disabilities
Vol 12 No 1

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