In the JustMums survey at the end of 2018 we asked mums about their experiences in the workplace and one of the comments we received was:
“My request for flexibility was granted, however I ended up doing a full-time role in part-time hours!”
JustMums director Erin Kefalas, talked about this in a LinkedIn post just recently, “Time and time again, we are contacted by talented and experienced mums who find they’re continually expected to work a full-time workload in part-time hours (including working on their non-work days)” she wrote. “Whether they have returned to their original role after parental leave, or have started a new part-time role, it is unfortunately becoming a common issue that many mums are facing in the workforce”.
Often when you return from parental leave to your previous role in a part-time capacity, the hours have changed but the expectations of your role have not. It’s very easy to just keep doing what you were previously without re-scoping the role now that it’s part-time. Many mums are wary of re-scoping in case they end up demoting themselves, however, if you don’t do this then your employer is effectively paying you less than they should be. We recommend going through your job responsibilities with your manager to decide what tasks can be done reasonably within the hours that you are contracted to work. If there are tasks that cannot be delegated to another team member then your employer may need to consider hiring more staff.
If you still find that you’re working more hours than you should be, consider these pointers:
- Communication: Talk to the people you work with about what your hours and job responsibilities are. Keeping lines of communication open gets everyone on board with the fact that you are working part-time.
- Availability: Keep everyone informed of the times that you are available and unavailable. Block out unavailable time in your calendar (including time to get from drop off/pick up if need be so no one schedules meetings during this time) and ensure you have your working hours clearly stated on your email signature.
- Email and phone: Turn on your email out of office and turn off your phone for the times that you are unavailable. Clearly state the times that you are available in your messages.
- Consistency: Create a schedule and follow it rigorously so that people get used to your routine.
- Boundaries: Set boundaries and learn how to say no.
- Finally, don’t feel guilty!
This last point is crucial. If you feel guilty about working reduced hours then you’re going to end up working more hours than you should. Free yourself from the guilt and know that you’re doing your best work within the hours that you are paid for.