The Benefits of Working Part-Time
Eight-eight-eight. After the Industrial Revolution, the eight hour work day was created to prevent the exploitation of factory workers.
Workers were, on average, working 14-16 hours a day, which left minimal time for eating, sleeping, and family. The day was then broken into three segments. Eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, eight hours for sleep. It’s been about 150 years of this schedule and it’s high time for this to be re-evaluated.
Let’s help foster a more positive work/life balance allowing people to dedicate more than eight hours for ‘recreation’ – which by today’s standard includes just about everything under the sun.
Employees with families can likely relate. Family and household management is often a full-time job, though of course it’s rarely designated as such. Once all of the chores are tended to – grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, laundry, errand running, bedtimes for kids, etc. - there is little time left over to take care of one’s self. Or for ‘recreation’ of any form other than flopping down on the couch for ten minutes. Throw a commute into the mix and your eight hours is likely reduced to seven or less.
The remaining time is so scarce that there is barely any opportunity for the pursuit of personal development, self-care, and health and fitness. According the Chief Public Health Officer’s report in 2017, only 20% of Canadian adults meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, while Stats Canada reports that one out of three Canadians are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. The adult average is 7.12 of sleep per night. If you are a parent to a toddler, those seven hours might sound dreamy as you are likely getting even less.
It can be overwhelming to look at all that needs to be accomplished in those precious hours.
Our society has created a vision of the Super-Parent who juggles everything perfectly. But what happens when even one of those balls get dropped? A neglected child or partner, project deadlines get missed, our physical and mental health suffers, family relationships and friendships are strained… Something has got to give somewhere. The idea of creating positive work/life harmony can seem out of grasp. The reality is that it doesn’t have to be!
Adjusting a 40 hour week to even 32 hours can have a huge impact. A more flexible schedule can give you the freedom to remove the pressure to ‘get it all done’ and allow you to actually do more with a little more breathing space. Working shorter days or less days per week, allows for employees to have more time to spend outside of the office nurturing their life. Multiple studies have been conducted over the past decade that demonstrate how reduced hours can have a positive impact for both the employee and the employer.
A study in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology showed being able to pursue a hobby, sport, or interest can boost your creativity. This in turn can benefit your job as it helps you bring fresh ideas to the table and keeps you more motivated to stay productive. Creative problem solving is needed often in work environments and when workers have outside interests they partake in, they are better able to look at problems objectively. Employees are noted to have reduced stress and exhaustion levels, fewer sick days and on-site injuries, and increased mental health and productivity. It’s a win-win situation for both sides.
It's not the number of hours that you put in that counts. It’s the productive hours that count. On average, only three hours in an eight hour day are truly productive.
Do you want to make your time count to the most? Assess your home/personal life to determine how much time you actually need/want to get everything done in. Determine your ideal version of a work/life balance and look for ways to make it happen. Talk to your current employer about reducing your hours (and back it up with the facts that show increased productivity!) or seek opportunities with reduced work hours and flexibility.
Angela Hill and Annette Rossel founded Vellicorp to be part of the shift in how Canadians balance work and life better. They both passionately believe that everyone can succeed in both career and life without having to sacrifice one for the other! They connect professionals who are seeking permanent part time opportunities with the right career match in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.