Want to Reduce Your Working Hours?

December 11, 2010

Are you dissatisfied with your working hours and you want to reduce them?

It’s important to determine whether you’re unhappy with your working hours all of the time, or is it just at the moment/during peak times?  This question is essential to determine whether your need and solution should be of a short or long term focus.

4 Tips To Reduce Your Working Hours:

  1. Reduce your workload– is your workload sustainable?  Are you spreading yourself too thin amongst all of your priorities?Reducing your workload will require a conversation with your Manager around your current tasks and reprioritising them to ensure that the business goals are met without you performing excessive hours to achieve them.
  2. Ask for help – ask for additional resources/personnel to help you deliver on your deadlines.  This may be in the form of other colleagues or obtaining external assistance.
  3. Ask for less hours– what can sometimes be a very successful technique in reducing hours, who would have thought, but it is to ask directly for it!This can be an effective strategy to implement on its own and requires the individual pursuing this option to be more efficient and productive so that the same amount of work output is completed in less time.

    A trial arrangement could be an effective way in determining if the needs of both parties are met.

  4. Reduce your responsibility– it could be the demands of your position that requires you to engage in excessive hours.  Is it possible to reduce your level of responsibility that may be driving up the extra hours?In some cases, this may mean a demotion – which may equate in less salary, however it may be worth it to increase your quality of life.

How To Resolve Your Dissatisfaction

Speaking with your employer should always be the first step in resolving your dissatisfaction– whether it is of a short or long term focus.

This should be completed prior to looking for a new job.  Who knows, your existing employer may be able to provide exactly what you’re looking for.

Should your desired hours not be resolved with your existing employer, it may then be worthwhile to consider alternatives to address long term problems with working hours.

Firstly, you may want to change employers that offer the hours you desire.

How to Find and Negotiate the Hours you’re looking for:

  1. Research potential employers– Amongst all of the other factors you need to assess when applying for a job, research to determine what working hours people actually work.You may want to visit the organisation’s website, read the position description, ask people who work there or ask during the interview what the hours are like.

    Remember that this is indicative only and may vary between departments, roles and/or peak business periods.

  2. Put it out there – within the application process it is the perfect time to set expectations for both parties, including hours.Should you be looking for less hours than they indicate or you think would be possible, remember that you have not got the job at this point, so you need to sell your skills and your record of productivity and how you can make this work.

    The important point here as well is to indicate your willingness to be flexible when the business requires.

    To get you “over the line” so to speak, it may be worthwhile implementing a trial period to determine if this arrangement will work for both parties.

The final alternative to consider is whether the working hours you desire is not generally possible in your profession or industry.  If nothing can change with your current employer or alternative employers, then it may be worth considering a career change, which I’m sure for many would be a last resort.

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