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I am in my early 60s and there is a call at my work for voluntary redundancies. I don’t want to give up work [I work in the financial sector], but I would like to work less as I also have caring responsibilities for my mum which are likely to increase in the next years. I am not confident of getting a job easily in the current job market, but I don’t think my employer will agree to a reduction in hours – in fact it is the part-time workers in my work who seem more likely to be made redundant. Should I stay put for now and focus on planning my way out after Covid?
Understand your priorities
To make an effective decision, you need to know what else you want from your career aside from reduced hours. Make a list of the responsibilities you enjoy, skills you use and the other aspects of your job that are important to you i.e. salary, location, flexible working. From this list, prioritise what are the most important factors for you now and moving forward with your career. If it is flexible working or part-time hours, this will feature higher up the list. This will be the criteria you would use to conduct an external job search, but it is worth matching it against your current role to see how much meets your desired criteria. You may notice your priorities at this point in your life may have changed from when you first started your career.
Research the job market
Research the external job market to get a feel for what opportunities are available now and how they align with your criteria. Job boards such as workingwise.co.uk are a good starting point to understand who is hiring now and the types of roles on offer. As unemployment is on the rise, you may find the results from your searches are limited. Spend some time researching companies of interest and building your network now, so if you choose to stay with your employer you have at least started to form a longer-term plan.
You can also ask your employer if you can work more flexibly or work part time. However, they have the right to reject your request. If you feel part-time workers in your company are more likely to be made redundant, you would need to explore this further with your line manager or with HR and understand why. There are many benefits to both the employer and employee around flexible working. By working flexibly are you able to work earlier or later in the day when suppliers may want to speak with you? Will working remotely reduce your commute time so, ultimately, they will get ‘more for their money’? Could you change your flexible needs to meet the demands of the business during peak times/seasonal dates?
You don’t have to provide a detailed overview of why you are asking for flexible working or reduced hours, but you do need to ensure you look at it from their perspective and demonstrate what’s in it for them. So be clear, concise and to the point. It’s all about the delivery. If you plan what you want to say and expect to be challenged, you will be armed and ready with your solutions.