Career advice

The benefits of job sharing

Increasingly, more and more people are seeking a greater level of flexibility and a better work/life balance in their jobs. In the quest for these coveted work benefits, many people are shunning traditional 9-to-5 roles in favour of part-time opportunities. Many parents often opt for this way of working when returning to work after having a child.
However, this is not always an easy process and finding part-time work can be a challenge. Some employers will be very open to the idea of part-time working, after parental leave for example. However, some employers may feel that a role is not well suited to this flexibility and that part-time hours could be impractical or detrimental.
Sometimes, employees may be disappointed to find that a part-time role doesn’t carry with it the same level of strategic responsibility or challenges as their full- time work– which can be frustrating in some instances.
A possible solution, for both employers and employees, is to consider the option of a job share. This is typically where a full-time remit is shared between employees who want to work part-time hours.

What makes for a successful job share?

An employer will need to carefully assess the situation to ascertain whether a job share would work well in the particular circumstances in question. They’ll need to make sure that:
  • The work is clearly assigned and divided between the employees. The workload must be regularly monitored to ensure that an imbalance is work is not occurring between the two parties.
  • Clear lines of responsibility and decision making must be drawn up to avoid any confusion around who takes the lead on specific tasks.
  • The job sharers’ skill-sets and knowledge must complement each other and offer an effective combination of expertise.
  • Excellent channels of communication must be in place between the employees undertaking the job share. Excellent communication will be needed to avoid misunderstandings, inaccuracies or a failure to relay important information.

Benefits for the employee:

  • Retain the level of responsibility/strategic weight of a full time position.
  • Enjoy the flexibility of part time hours.
  • Exchange of skills and knowledge between job sharers.
  • Keep a level of seniority with their organisation while changing the structure of their hours.
  • Meet the demands of a challenging role while upholding an improved work/life balance.

Benefits for the employer:

  • Retention of high performing employees who are seeking more flexibility, perhaps due to a change in personal circumstances.
  • A wider, mixed skill-set and a complementary combination of experience and approach.
  • A more relaxed, satisfied and happy workforce - potentially leading to higher productivity and reduced absenteeism.
  • More ability to cover sickness and holiday leave, giving better continuity of cover.
Search for new job opportunities and keep an eye on the market with Michael Page's online listings.