Job Sharing

Job SharingTwo Heads are Better than One

As parents, we know that work can be completed more easily by sharing the burden and responsibility of getting it done.  We are parents and we’re accustomed to juggling tasks in order to raise our children and get the daily household chores done.  In our house, it’s pretty much an even split, although some days I must admit that I think my husband seems to do just a little bit more than me around the house (big brownie points coming my way for the PDA).  The juggling act and necessity to multitask is what makes parents one of the best employee options to be considered for job sharing.

So what exactly is job sharing?

Job sharing is where two people share the responsibilities of one fulltime position.  You don’t necessarily need to change jobs, often your current position could be redesigned into a job sharing position.

The big question is – can anyone be successful at a job sharing work arrangement?  The answer is Yes! Anyone can be successful at job sharing, but this type of work arrangement requires certain skills in order for it to work successfully for the two people sharing the role, and the business willing to consider the opportunity.  Here are some ideas to consider when you’re thinking about proposing a job sharing work arrangement with your employer;

  • Can the job be logically split on a task, time or customer basis?
  • If the job is shared, can contact with customers and co-workers be handled effectively?
  • Can there be sufficient continuity between the two employees sharing the job?

If all of these criteria can be met, then your position has the potential to be shared and it’s time to begin preparing to approach your employer.

Over the lunchroom table is not the time to casually raise this idea.  Job sharing is a serious business consideration, so it requires a well thought out and planned proposal, concentrated largely on highlighting the benefits for the business rather than for the employees involved.

In creating a proposal, ensure that you prepare in advance by asking yourself questions from your employers point of view.  By looking at the situation from their perspective, you are more likely to achieve the outcome you are seeking.  Let’s face it, you’re already convinced that job sharing will work for you, the flexibility, the time you gain with your family, they are strong motivators, but they are all about you.  To get your proposal moving in the right direction, here are some questions to get you thinking from your employers perspective;

  • What number of hours will be worked by each of the job-sharers?  – It’s also important to detail how variations will be managed, including annual and personal leave.  Remember, from a business perspective, this is a full-time position.
  • What days will you each work? – It’s an obvious question, however detailing the schedule will provide comfort to your employer, especially if you provide additional information such as managing handover, including the ongoing management of tasks and responsibilities already underway.  The workflow needs to continue regardless of who started the task, so an open, honest and close working relationship with your job-sharer is crucial.
  • How will your colleagues manage communication and interaction? – By demonstrating that you’ve thought long and hard about the impact this change will have on others, you are providing comfort to your employer that this decision is not all about you and your desire for flexibility.  From a business perspective, it’s important to consider how your colleagues will interact and work with the job-sharers.  Naturally, you will need to access each others information, so be sure to detail that provision be made for both people to have access to everything, including computers, emails and locked cabinets.
  • How will the job-sharers manage the role? – Detail whether you will be owning responsibility for one project or will you be working in the same capacity in the role and managing workflow as required?
  • What are your ideas in relation to salary and benefits? – While discussing salary and benefits can at times be awkward, it’s important to be open and honest upfront about how you see the fulltime salary and benefits being divided between the job-sharers.  It might be worth discussing this with your payroll department to better prepare your proposal in this area.

Before sending in the proposal, do some research and see whom you should present your proposal to. While it’s necessary to inform your direct supervisor of your intentions of proposing a job sharing arrangement, you might be required to present your proposal to the head of your company’s human resource department.

If you need a little more motivation to get your proposal started, think about including the following points in your proposal:

  • Double the talent – imagine two people combining their experience, talent and expertise to fulfil your role.  It’s undoubtedly going to improve the work produced, bringing a new level to the position.
  • Continuous work flow – providing you and your job-sharer negotiate the finer points prior to formalising the contract, you can almost guarantee continuous work flow for the business during annual leave, sick leave and other absences.  Worst case, if your job-sharer moves on, you have the comfort of part-time coverage for the role.  It should be noted that loyalty and retention are generally high and absenteeism is low among job sharers.

Most importantly, make sure that you focus on showing that job sharing will work smoothly, easily and effectively for the business and then prove it to the business and help others gain the confidence to present successful proposals of their own.

Share your success stories with our subscribers to help them gain the confidence to prepare a successful proposal of their own.

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Yasmin Grigaliunas

Yasmin is an owner and co-founder of School Hours Pty Ltd.Yasmin's passion for helping others coupled with her desire to achieve a balance between raising children and earning a living, lead her to create School Hours Pty Ltd with her husband Leigh.School Hours will be the place to go for Australian parents wanting to connect with progressive thinking, family friendly employers.
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