CEO Insider

The 7 myths about part-time work

Belinda Morgan

Many people think of part-time work as a zero-sum game. They know there are benefits for the individuals who work part-time, including better life balance and improved well-being. But they assume it’s only a downside and inconvenience for organizations. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Part-time work, done well, can drive hugely positive outcomes for organizations and society. Let’s examine some common objections and how you can refute them. 

Myth #1: Part-timers aren’t serious about their careers 

Truth: As we saw in the Introduction, there are plenty of excellent reasons people may want to work part-time. In many cases, it’s precisely because people are serious about their careers and want to find a way to stay in the workforce. 

Myth #2: Part-time work is a perk that should be earned, not something that should be offered to everyone 

Truth: This is a very traditional view that progressive organizations are moving away from. It stems from a belief that part-time work is a zero-sum game: that’s it’s good for the employee but not so much for the organization. The key to addressing this one is convincing the sceptics about the organizational benefits of part-time work. These are laid out in detail in the coming pages.

Myth #3: Our customers require us to be available full-time

Truth: In nearly every case I’ve seen where an organization is worried about this, it has turned out that the customers are totally happy with the idea of their vendors having people who work part-time. Customers are usually far more interested in the outcomes delivered for them than in the work patterns of their vendors. You can read more on this in Part Three.

Myth #4: There’s nowhere for the extra work to go

Truth: The big stumbling block many people face is that no one knows how to re-scope a full-time role into a part-time one and reallocate the extra work. It can seem that the only options are for the part-timer to continue managing the same workload as before, or for their team members to be lumped (unfairly) with additional work. This problem is not as tricky to solve as it sounds. There are several different and very effective ways to tackle it, including hiring an additional part-time person with the salary budget you’ve now got available. I’ll cover this issue and other potential options for solving it in detail in Part Three.

Myth #5: Having a team member working part-time is not fair to the rest of the team

Truth: Assuming the work allocation issue has been dealt with, what is unfair? Yes, the part-timer has a smaller workload than their full-time peers (if their role has been properly scoped). But they are also getting paid proportionally less – a fact people seem to forget somehow! 

Myth #6: People leader roles can’t be done part-time 

Truth: I know from personal experience that this is simply not true. I have worked in two different part-time people leader roles myself and worked with many others who have done the same. The two keys to setting a team up for success when a people leader works part-time are building the right team and empowering this team to succeed. This topic is covered in detail in Part Four. 

Myth #7: Even if middle management roles can be done part-time, executive and senior leadership roles definitely can’t be 

Truth: Board members for organizations don’t work full-time yet have huge responsibilities. And there is a growing number of CEOs and executives choosing to work part-time.


In this edited book extract from Solving the Part-Time Puzzle, author Belinda Morgan looks at the reasons why part-time work is often looked down on, and why that’s wrong.
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Belinda Morgan
Belinda Morgan is the author of Solving The Part-Time Puzzle: How to decrease your hours, increase your impact, and thrive in your part-time role. She is a sought-after trainer, coach and speaker who helps people and organisations realise the many benefits of becoming truly flexible.


Belinda Morgan is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with her through LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website.