Are your part-time employees feeling isolated?


With more people needing flexible working solutions to meet the demands of life, businesses need to look at whether their structure is impacting part-time workers negatively or supporting the value they bring and nurturing their skills and talent. Are your part-time employees feeling isolated and what can you do to help?

Knowledge and skills development
According to a study by Timewise, 59% of part-time workers had lost confidence and fallen behind in the knowledge and skills needed for their role compared to their full-time colleagues. This is possibly due to missing out on training and development opportunities because of their working arrangements. They may not be scheduled to work on a team training day thus miss out on the development that the rest of their team are benefiting from.

What can businesses do:

Ensure part-time staff are included in training plans, and schedules allow them to attend training
Include part-time employees in any discussions or team meetings around challenges their team face and the solutions that are being discussed
Do not exclude part-time employees from large and exciting new projects, to allow them the same opportunities to excel as other colleagues

Individuals who work part-time miss out on important communication and feel less up to date with what’s happening in their team and the wider business. Of course, it is not possible to schedule every meeting to include all part-time workers so that no-one misses out. However, consider how you communicate and disseminate information in your organisation to ensure that the information is still readily available to everyone after the initial communication has happened. Using technology to do this can often help, implementing a system such as a company intranet, catch up calls via Skype so people can join in remotely even on their day off or team WhatsApp groups could all be considered.

What can businesses do:

Review communication tools to ensure information is accessible to everyone
Utilise technology to enhance employees’ access to communication
Consider recording team meetings or presentations for part-time staff to watch at a later date

Valued as an employee
Almost half of the part-time workers surveyed stated that they felt undervalued and that their colleagues perceived them as being less committed due to their working hours being part-time. This can lead to employees feeling isolated at work.

What can businesses do:

Developing a workplace culture that champions part-time workers
Ensure all employees are equally recognised and valued by their line managers

Networking and making connections
Networking is a crucial business tool, which can often benefit both the individual and the company they work for. Part-time workers often feel disadvantaged when it comes to these opportunities as events held after work can be difficult for those with caring responsibilities, for example, many of whom work part-time.

59% of part-time workers said they had lost professional connections because it was hard for them to network.

What can businesses do:

Consider being flexible when hosting networking opportunities – hold events over breakfast or lunch during the daytime so those who cannot accommodate after work events can also access the opportunity.

Peer support
Building a supportive network where part-time workers can contact and learn from each other can reduce the isolation they feel. 68% of those surveyed said that it has helped improve their confidence and enjoyment at work.

What can businesses do:

Ensure mentor programmes include part-time workers at all levels of the organisation
Use technology to aid communication by setting up chat groups for workers needing peer support
Encourage part-time employees to socialise together and help facilitate the possibility of holding events during the working day, such as over lunch, to accommodate their working hours.

A valued and happy workforce
To ensure that you maintain a happy and valued workforce, challenge the status quo of how things may have been done in the past. Look for opportunities to become more inclusive, such as recording team briefings, offering more than one training session with alternative times or just hosting network events during the day.

More and more employees are choosing to work flexibly, and an organisation that values this approach and fosters an inclusive culture will be more attractive to future talent. If employees are happier in the workplace, they are likely to be more productive, meaning the employer will also benefit from their staff’s sense of wellbeing.

Further information
If you found this information useful you may also want to check out the following:

Should there be more individuality in employee benefits?
How neurodiversity in the workplace can benefit your business

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