Working 9 to 5, the best way to make a “livin”?

Dolly Parton’s seminal oeuvre, inspired by the works of Marx and Engels, is a critical take on the “all takin’, no givin’” capitalist model and tackles with one of life’s most challenging dilemmas; how to divide your time between work and play. For decades the standard hours of 9am to 5pm have been the bedrock of Western working culture, but now amid warnings of further recession to come across Europe and a further downtime for the global economy, more and more people seem to be taking the decision to work on a part time basis.

In the past there have been several reasons for individuals choosing to cut their hours (and their salary) to fit around other priorities. The most common of these are of course children, caring for family members and regular viewing of Countdown, but there appears to be a rapid diversification of the range of sectors now employing part time staff and, most interestingly, the seniority of those staff.

Based on the fact that part-time work is not the norm, there is a long-standing view that part-time work normally consists of low status, menial labour type roles, yet that does seem to be changing. Across the country, there are 5.1million individuals that are now in part-time work, out of choice, and a growing number of these appear to be individuals that can afford to take the financial hit of losing a day or two’s wages in order to gain some valuable free time. This is of course a tantalising prospect for many who wish to gain a little bit of extra time for travel or other hobbies and yet can maintain the income in order to do so.

This is a move that is fantastic for employers, particularly smaller businesses. By taking on a specialist in whatever sector, be it marketing, HR, IT, Sales or any other function, SMEs can afford to employ a huge amount of talent for half the price.

It seems to be a trend that is set to continue according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. The short term reason for this is likely to be firms having to make further cutbacks as the second dip of this double recession bites choosing to reduce the number of hours their employees work and therefore their salary brackets rather than making redundancies. Looking forward the effect is likely to continue through even after the recession is finally dealt with, as an ageing population seeks a way to gradually reduce their work commitments whilst maintaining a viable source of income as they get older.

So looking to the future it may be that you can do your tumbling out of bed and stumbling to the kitchen only three days a week and yet still be entitled to pour yourself a well-deserved cup of ambition.