Smoothly Changing From Full-time to Part-Time Work

Switching from a full time 9-5 to part time work can feel daunting. The easiest way to go about it is probably to negotiate this in your current full time job. Here's how to go about it:

Smoothly Changing From Full-time to Part-Time Work

Planning on changing from full-time to part-time work, but you aren't sure how to break the news to your boss? At 4dayweek, we’re passionate about the work-life balance that shorter work weeks offer, which is why we’ve prepared this guide on making the shift to part-time work. So, without further ado, let’s discuss the benefits of a part-time schedule and how to flawlessly make the transition!

Why Do You Want to Work Part-Time?

Now, you might be wondering why you would work part-time instead of full-time, especially in dire times such as these. Other than having less stress in your life, there are other advantages of working part-time, such as:

  • More free time for hobbies and leisure activities
  • More opportunities to earn money
  • Improved health
  • More free time for friends and family

More Free Time for Hobbies and Other Projects

One of the biggest advantages of not working full time is having more free time for hobbies, leisure activities, and side-projects. As they say, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” meaning without free time, you’re bound to become bored. Working part-time will allow you to finally complete your artistic endeavors, go out, etc.

Most importantly, you will have time to obtain certifications or complete other projects you're working on. If you're not employed in your dream role, chances are that you're working on getting there. The additional free time offered from part-time positions will allow you to climb the ladder in the field and get the credentials needed to land your dream job.

More Opportunities to Earn Money

Even though it might not seem logical at first, working part-time might help you earn more money, especially if you can balance two jobs at once. For example, if you work 20 hours part-time in one company, you can easily sneak in 20 more at another. This can pull a higher combined income than a full-time position, and on top of that, you won't have to work 50 to 60 hours. Working at two places at once can also help you get organized like never before, which is a skill a lot of employers are looking for nowadays.

Improved Health

Most people switch to part-time because they're burned out due to overwork, lack the free time to exercise and enjoy the fresh air, and overall lead a healthy lifestyle. If you start working part-time, you will have more time to go to the gym, run, and sleep during the night. You will also be able to do your daily tasks more efficiently, such as grocery shopping or preparing meals.

Your stress levels will also decrease as you won't be chasing deadlines and working all day long; instead, you'll be able to go home, relax, and then proceed with the rest of your day.

More Free Time for Friends and Family

Although you might not earn as much working part-time as you would working full-time, you will have more time for friends and family, which is another factor that will lower your stress levels. Being able to pick up your kids from school or go to family gatherings might mean more to you than having a bigger paycheck and not being able to see your loved ones as often as you wish.

How To Negotiate Going Part-Time

Once you decide you want to change from a full-time to a part-time schedule, you need to know how to negotiate the transition with your employer. The process can seem daunting and challenging at first, but don't worry; you only need to:

1. Know Why and When You Want to Request Part-Time Employment

Knowing why you’re transitioning is almost as important as knowing when you want to request your transition. Although your employers might not even ask you for an explanation, knowing your reasoning can help you understand your needs in the future. It can also help you write your formal letter request, which we’ll talk about later in the article.

The most important thing is, to be honest about your transition. Whether you're feeling burned out, you simply want a better work-life balance, or you're suffering from an illness that's stopping you from working full-time, you need to accept it and only then get ready to ask for a transition.

You must also know when you want to request your part-time employment, as you need to be as concise as possible when it comes to scheduling. So, settle on a date for your transition, stick to it, and you'll complete half the job needed.

2. Plan Your Responsibilities Ahead

In most cases, part-time schedules have less than half the working hours of full-time schedules. This means that the chances of you not being able to complete all your tasks during the week are high.

Due to this, your employer will have to hire other part-time employees or transition your obligations to other people to cover your work. That's why you want to prepare for your transition by planning your responsibilities ahead and segmenting them, as it can help your employer see how things are going to work in practice.

3. Prepare Your Manager in Advance

When it comes to working and schedules, no one likes surprises. That's why you should prepare your manager in advance and have an in-person conversation with them about your transition to part-time. It's a good idea to schedule a brief meeting and give your manager a few details about what you'd like to change. Don't share all the specifics about your part-time transition; instead, share a bit of information and let them know what you have in plan.

4. Determine How Many Hours You Want to Work For

This point is closely related to the previous one, and it requires you to determine exactly how many hours you want to work, as the hours worked among part-time employees vary hugely, depending on both the organization and role. So, determine how many hours you'd like to work and only then make the shift.

To ensure everything goes well, you shouldn't cut your hours by more than half. This will show your managers that you respect them and that you're reasonable about your working hours.

5. Suggest a Trial Period

If there seems to be a hiccup in your transition to part-time, you can always suggest a trial period. This includes going down from 40+ working hours to 35, then 30, and so on. At the end of the day, drastically changing your working schedule with little notice doesn't do anyone any good.

6. Be Ready to Negotiate

Ideally, both you and your manager will agree on your suggested working schedule, and everyone will go their merry way. The reality is that your manager will most likely require you to adjust your proposal a bit, but no matter what happens, you need to keep things professional.

You need to be ready to negotiate and get the best out of the deal with your manager. If they don't agree with all of your suggestions, ask about working from home or reducing some responsibilities, or even working hybrid (e.g., a few days from home and some days in the office).

7. Submit a Formal Request for Part-Time Transition

Last but not least, you should submit a formal request for your transition. It's always a good idea to have everything written down, no matter what you're suggesting at work. The written letter can serve your employer and HR team as proof of your request in the future, and it can also help avoid any ambiguity. You should be as clear as possible in your request letter, as you don't want to have any mistakes in a document as important as this. If you don't know how to write one or what to include in it, we'll give you a brief idea.

Tip: Looking to leave your current job and work part-time for a different company? If so, browse our directory of part-time positions!

Part-Time Request Letter Sample Template

Your part-time request letter needs to be clear, concise, professional, and contain all the necessary details regarding your transition to part-time work. Check out the table below to see what you should include in your letter:

Subject LineIn the first part of your letter, you should include: (1) Formal greetings to your manager (2) Your accomplishments in the company (3) Your proposal for the part-time transition (4) The reasons why you want to switch (5) The exact date of your transition
Trial PeriodThe second part of your letter should contain a suggestion for a trial period for your part-time work. In it, your employers should see that you’re reasonable about your transition and that you’re in no hurry.
Working Hours and ScheduleThis is the most important part of your formal-request letter. In it, you need to specify exactly how many hours you plan on working both daily and weekly during your part-time schedule.
ResponsibilitiesTo show your employers that you're responsible for your transition and that you've put much thought into it, you should specify the responsibilities someone will have to cover and the work you plan to do when you start working part-time.
Suggestion for an in-person meetingEnsure your employers that you can even attend a one-on-one meeting to go over the specifics of your transition.
Your personal informationLastly, you should write down your role and name and sign the letter.

To give you a better idea, here is a part-time request letter sample:

Subject: Proposal for Reduction to Part Time Working hours

Hi [Manager's First Name],

I hope you're doing well. I wanted to explore the possibility of reducing my working hours to part-time, ideally working three days a week and adjusting my salary accordingly.

My priority is to make this transition seamless and advantageous for both [Company Name] and myself:

  • Planning Ahead: I'm prepared to draft a plan outlining how my responsibilities can be adjusted with my proposed schedule.
  • Knowledge Sharing: If required, I'm ready to offer supplementary training or create guides for our team.
  • Adaptable Schedule: Let's chat about which days would best align with the company's operations and needs.

It's worth noting some compelling findings from recent research on shortened work weeks:

  • Efficiency Boost: Thanks to Parkinson's Law, many businesses observed unchanged, if not improved, productivity after adopting a shorter work week.
  • Minimized Fatigue: An extra day off weekly can refresh one's mind and energy.
  • Enhanced Work-Life Integration: More free time can refresh my perspective and approach towards work.
  • Fewer Absences: Better rest often translates to better overall health and fewer off days.
  • Increased Dedication: Witnessing [Company Name]'s support in employee well-being would fortify my dedication.
  • Opportunity for Growth: Extra personal time means more opportunities for skill development, which can be a boon for both of us e.g. staff at companies who switched to a 4 day work week were less likely to leave the company

I genuinely believe that this proposal can be a win-win for me and [Company Name]. Let's brainstorm on how we can facilitate this change without hitches.

Thank you for considering my proposal.

Best wishes,

If you'd prefer to switch to a 4 day week, check out this recent article.

What if My Company Isn’t Flexible?

It’s possible that you and your employer may not come to an agreement regarding the terms of your transition to part-time. If so, you can always consider quitting your current job and seeking a different position that is more aligned with your needs.

At 4 Day Week we promote jobs with a better work-life balance, e.g.: