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Are part-time staff the answer to your resourcing needs?

The economic downturn has seen a boom in the part-time job market, but putting a bit of time and effort into designing part-time roles is essential to making them work.

Using part-time workers can help you address your resourcing needs without the expense of taking on full-time staff. It also gives you the flexibility to scale your operations up or down according to your needs - for example, by using more workers at peak times and extending your operating hours by using part-time workers in the evening or at weekends. However, it's also worth considering that taking on a lot many part-time workers leads can lead to higher training, administrative and recruitment costs. Providing a consistent level of service or cover, too, can require careful planning.

Offering part-time roles helps employers avoid a complete recruitment freeze, while at the same time giving them access to a large pool of well-qualified and experienced people who don't want to take on full-time roles. These can include parents and carers, mature students who need to combine work and study and even people who have retired from full-time jobs but would still like to work on a reduced-hours basis.

The main challenge when taking on part-time staff is to design the role in a workable way and think outside the framework of the traditional '9 to 5' position. Trying to squeeze the responsibilities of a full-time role into a part-time position is asking for trouble, but with a little imagination, many roles can be scaled down to a part-time basis, or job-share, or delivered through compressed hours or a degree of home or flexible working.

Acas provides training to equip employers with the skills to attract, retain and manage an effective and productive workforce.

Visit the Acas training and business solutions area for more information.

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