How to Ask a Boss to Work Part-Time

Be positive when making your case for working part time.

Be positive when making your case for working part time.

Asking your boss to work part time does not have to be daunting. A new schedule can be life-changing and productive. If you can show the boss that working part time will improve your efficiency, you might be able to sell her on the idea. According to the Department of Labor, 26.6 percent of women in the workforce worked part time in 2010. The ability to work part time has created a more diverse workforce and allowed more women to join companies and corporations. If you ask in the right way, you might get your part time hours and leave the boss' office smiling, with your head held high.

Email your boss and arrange an appointment to meet at her convenience to discuss your work schedule. You don't have to give the details of your requested change in the email, but do preface the meeting by letting your boss know the topic of discussion. Wait for your boss to respond with a meeting time. Your boss is likely busy, stressed and dealing with bigger problems that relate to the company as a whole. Putting the boss on the spot makes it more likely for you to receive a knee-jerk reaction and a "no way" response.

Organize your approach for the meeting. Do your homework. Most companies consider 32 hours a week or less to be part time. If you want to cut a whole day out of your work week, prepare to show how this will make you a more efficient employee. For example, a 2010 study by the Research Centre for Education and the Labor Market in Germany found that firms that employ a large share of part-time workers are more productive than firms with a large full-time productive share. Present the idea as a suggestion, not an ultimatum. You don't want the boss to feel cornered. Keep your reasons organized and limited to the important issues.

Deliver your message concisely, choosing only the most important points. Don't to burden the boss with your life story. Instead, lay out the main reasons why working part time will help you balance your work life and other obligations, and why it will make you more efficient at your job. Deliver your argument with the company in mind, instead of your own life demands, comfort and situation. Saying, "My afternoon hours are not as productive since I'm preoccupied with the arrangement of child care" helps the boss understand that your main reason to suggest part-time hours is your productivity, not your desire to relax in the afternoon. It doesn't hurt to show a record of your good performance for extra support.

Reassure your employer that your main goal is to keep your job. You want to ensure your supervisor that you are not trying to slowly move away from the company, but instead to better your situation and productivity. Reinforce your interest in working for the company, and avoid pressing the boss to give you an answer right away. Thank her for considering your ideas, and let her know you are looking forward to her decision. Odds are, if you use an organized approach, deliver appropriate reasons, and leave the boss room to make a decision, you'll get what you asked for.

Tip

  • When you meet with your boss, dress professionally and go in with a polished, well groomed look. This conveys your interest and respect for your position, which will help the boss understand that you are requesting a better work situation, not slacking off.
 

About the Author

Jan Archer holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a master's degree in creative writing. Roth has written trade books for Books-a-Million and has published articles on green living, wellness and education topics. She taught business writing, literature, creative writing and English composition at the college level for five years.

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