Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Getting To A Four-Day Work-Week

Like all recruiters, I am often asked if I can find someone a four-day work-week; or five days but with one day working from home.  This is a very tall order and, unfortunately, it almost never happens.  At least not through a recruiter.  And generally not when someone is first hired.

Jobs in advertising and marketing, which work from home one or two days a week or which are part time, rarely happen with new and untried employees.  Ad agencies and consumer goods marketers seriously believe that their jobs and workloads require full-time attendance at the office. I have never had an assignment specifically for a four day week although I have very occasionally had a client tell me they were open to someone working from home one day a week.  But it is really rare.

In fact, once upon a time about twenty years ago, I remember a recruiter who hired someone to do nothing but work on part time placements for ad agencies. They were specifically interested in placing women who were on the “mommy track”.   It was during a period of full employment. Unfortunately, that I know of, the recruiter did not make a single placement or, to my memory, did not get a single assignment during the entire year that she tried.

In fact, over the years, I have had a number of candidates who have done well interviewing and come close to getting an offer when they drop the one-day-a-week-from-home bomb on a potential employer (and on me).  Employers universally react negatively to this suggestion. And it costs most of these people the offer.

Ironically, full-time jobs that work from home, one or two days a week, are not uncommon. Neither are four-day a week jobs.  However, they are reserved for women (particularly) who are fully trusted and are usually reserved for employees who have worked for the company long enough to build personal equity; where the employer knows and trusts that they will do whatever is necessary from home. As an aside, the women I know who have done a four day week, agree to work for four-fifths of their salary. However, many of them complain that on their day off, they tend to be working anyway.

I have no real advice as to how to obtain this kind of position.  What I believe is the best scenario, is to take a full-time job, work for long enough (perhaps four or five months) to the point where you are known, respected and trusted, and then try to gradually fade into the part time work, perhaps even starting with half a day home.  Once someone has proven his/herself, companies are more open to the idea.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who has been fortunate to work flextime, telecommute, and have a shorter work week for various (awesome) agencies over time...I can attest to the fact that I still very much work on my days off. Thanks for pointing that out.


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