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Managing Part-time Employees
If your project workload is starting to put a strain on team project management, it could be time to bring in reinforcements in the form of part-time employees. When trying to determine how part-timers would fit into your team, consider these three resource management parameters.
1. Job Duties
Take inventory of the project prospectus and your normal administrative routine and determine what types of tasks a part-time employee might take on before interviewing begins. Project resource management can benefit from establishing clear goals and priorities. Part-time employees can shoulder the burden of responsibilities conducive to short increments of time, tasks that can be completed in the time a part-timer is on the clock and job duties that can be picked up and put down without losing efficiency or job continuity. Part-time staff are ideal candidates for project leg-work, errand-running, and administrative responsibilities. However, don’t overlook the benefit of hiring part-time help for specialized tasks. When project needs don’t necessitate a full-time team member, part-time freelance specialists can offer needed expertise.
2. Part-time Schedules
Consider both your project management schedule and the schedules of other team members when determining when and how often a part-time staff member will work. Set part-time schedules that enhance the workflow of the other team members rather than hinder or create disruptions to project progress. Whether you schedule one or two full days or several half days, determine the minimum amount of time in the office needed to maintain efficiency and actually accomplish required tasks. Consider the consistency required for part-timer tasks and the lag time created by the schedule between hours worked. Tasks that require more constant attention might best be accomplished by a few hours of work each day, whereas less time sensitive job duties could be completed in just a few days a week. For tasks that have a quick turn-over, the difference between a Mon/Wed/Fri schedule and a Tue/Thu, for example, can be the difference in a part-timer completing a task or another team member needing to take on the responsibility.
3. Training and Supervision
When determining the duties, schedule and number of employees your project requires, the added administrative tasks of managing part-timers are a real concern. On-going training and supervision as well as the need for more status reports and follow-ups must be factored into management protocol. Matching the right person with the tasks outlined can greatly decrease the additional administrative and management time required. Employment skills that can be worked around or molded on the job with a full-time team member can quickly become a source of frustration and project breakdown with a part-time staff member. Depending on job duties, consider whether you need a self starter, a quick learner, or someone satisfied with repetitive or rote tasks. Attention to detail, the ability to follow instructions and a reliable work ethic are also important part-timer traits.
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