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Revealed: Things That Part-Time Workers Should Know to Protect Their Rights

Revealed: Things That Part-Time Workers Should Know to Protect Their Rights
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Be it to supplement your income, or keep you occupied when you have far too much of time at hand, or be a career option that does not bind you down to office hours; part-time jobs have steadily been becoming popular over the last decade or so.

In countries like the Netherlands and the UK, the part time work force is at an all-time high – in Netherlands, part time workers constitute more than 35% of its workforce, while in the UK its 24%[1]. And as far as the US goes, in March 2017 alone there were about 28 million people employed on a part-time basis. [2]. Millions!

In case you too are a proud part and parcel of these new-age work force, stop and ask yourself one question first: how many hours is part time? Reason being, you may be being underpaid for a job that takes the better chunk of your day to do!

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How Many Hours Is Considered Part-Time Employment

So, the key question here is, how many hours is part time? Despite human resources being a much talked about and studied subject, the term part-time is bandied about amongst recruiters and basically depends on an employer’s whims and fancies. A part-time job could be anything from a little under 30 hours a week, to 40 hours a week. For a 5-day week day, this could mean six to eight hours of work in a day.[3]

Doesn’t sound like part time any more, does it? Especially if a part-time job does not entail the same benefits as a full-time job does, even though legally, an employer cannot discriminate between a part-time employee and a full-time one. [4]

The Most Popular Types of Part-Time Jobs Today

While writing and blogging is an obvious choice for a part-time job, there are other jobs that pay a lot more: think jazz music instructor, pharmacist, dentist, computer programmer, application developer and market research analyst. [5]

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The Benefits That Part-Time Workers Can Enjoy

Frankly, while working part-time or even remote may not be for all, and the confusion that surrounds how many hours is part time also does not make this everyone’s cup of tea. In case you still like the idea of working part-time, here go the benefits:[6]

  • You can give more time to the family: If you have an ailing family member, young kids, or just a family with really stressful and time-consuming jobs, your part-time job can be a Godsend to spend more time with the family, kids or even maintaining the home.
  • You can keep yourself occupied: In case you are a homemaker with some free time or in your silver years looking to stave off boredom, a part-time job can come in handy to keep you productively occupied, and earn you some quick bucks as well.
  • You can supplement your income: If you need to boost your income a little, be it as a worker or even a student, part-time jobs can really come in handy and give you the much-needed finances to support yourself a little better.
  • You can learn a new skill: Not all part-time jobs pay all that well, but they are a great way to gain some new experience and learn a new skill, while they pay you for it!
  • Gives you more free time: In case you have found a part-time job that pays almost as well as a full-time one, stick to it for it is a gold mine that lets you support your lifestyle in comfort and even affords you free time to stick to your hobbies, creative pursuits or even another part-time gig!

But You Can’t Ignore the Potential Downsides…

We’ve stated all that was good. Now here comes all that is bad and ugly about working part time! [7].

  • No Job Security: With a part-time job its literally getting hired in the morning, and getting fired in the evening – once the work is done, you are no longer useful to the employer and are mercilessly given the boot.
  • No Benefits: Part-time workers, despite the cloudiness of how many hours is part time, are not given any benefits, be it health, insurance or even the fringe benefits that full-time workers revel in.
  • No retirement protection: Forget pension, being a part-time worker will not give you any benefits in your silver years and leave you high and dry once the employer has no need of you.
  • Less money: As a part-time or remote worker, you may be working just about as hard as a full-time employee, but that will not get you the same or even comparable salary! To top that, don’t expect to be promoted either!
  • Too much of time management: If you are a part-time worker juggling various jobs, home, family and studies; it can leave you exhausted and in constant stress… Too many deadlines are likely to leave you fatigued.

How to Be A Wise And Fully-Informed Part-Time Worker

Now that we have stated the pros and cons, it is for you to decide, depending on your circumstances, whether or not you find part time jobs lucrative and suitable. Here are five tips to steer you in the right direction to finding the ideal part-time gig for you [8]

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  • Go Small When It Comes to Companies: Don’t aim your sights too high when it comes to companies who hire part-time employees – bigger companies have all the resources they need to hire full-time workers. It’s the smaller companies, the kinds with 10-99 employees that need to save their resources and depend heavily on the part-time workforce.
  • Network, Left, Right & Center: Word of mouth is the best way to go to land a part-time job – let all your erstwhile bosses, colleagues and friends know that you are on the lookout for a part-time gig and you may never know which opportunity comes knocking at your door.
  • Expand your Horizons: You may have been one thing when you were a full-time worker, but as a part-time worker, be open to working in an environment that uses a long-forgotten skill set that you had. Similarly while you may be studying for a different subject, if a job comes along that uses skills you are not studying for, don’t turn it down…
  • Go Temp and Then Part-Time: You may be looking for a long-term, part-time gig, but all a job has to offer you is a temp position of a few weeks or months. Don’t turn it down – take it up and shine at it, for all you know your hard work may just turn it into a long-term part-time position, tailor made for you!
  • Scour Job Boards: Websites like Flexjobs.com, craigslist.com, indeed.com are chockablock full of part-time gigs, usually asking for 15-20 hours of weekly time from you for rates that are not luxurious, but likely to make you upwards of a $10 per hour for things like writing or editing, and much more for other gigs like programming, dentistry and more…

Be Careful of Your Rights as a Part-Time Worker

As a last word to you, as a part-time worker in the US, you are liable to be paid overtime: Loosely based, any employee who works for less than 30 hours a week is a part-time employee. That said; this ceiling can sometimes also be raised to 40 hours a week.

While the upper limit is still a tad under defined, if you are a non-salaried part-time worker and have put in more than 40 hours of work in a week, your employer is obligated by federal law to pay you 1.5 times the pay for all hours worked over 40 in a given week.[9].

Remember to check your countries part time worker rights. For instance in Ireland, any part-time worker who puts in more than 20% of what a full-time worker clocks, is liable to receive part pension benefits too! For US, while “how many hours is part time” is still unclear, it is anything from one hour to 34 hours a week. [10].

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So while the subject of how many hours is part time is still cloudy and needs a lot more research and some defined labor laws, the part-time job scene is basically thriving and bursting with opportunities. Take up a gig if you like, but keep your eyes and ears open to ensure that you are not being scammed by the employer in any way…

Reference

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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