How can I make job sharing a success?
Job sharing can be very rewarding but requires flexibility, trust and good teamwork. Current job sharers give great advice on what has worked for them.
Having clear expectations and good communication is the key to successful job sharing. This includes agreeing how written communications will be done, regular and timely handovers and what happens where there are disagreements.
When agreeing job sharing arrangements, it is important to have some overlap of hours to maximise continuity and consistency and minimise disruption for other team members. Having a handover day or hours may result in the total hours worked by the job sharing partners being more than one full-time equivalent (FTE) but the benefit to the business should justify any additional financial cost.
Sharing management responsibilities
Managing staff is one of the most sensitive and complex areas for job sharers. However, this has numerous advantages for employees including access to a wider range of skills and expertise and more objective decision-making.
Occasionally, where job sharing partners share line management responsibilities, this can result in a lack of clarity for the team’s ‘vision’. It is important that job sharing managers take the time to develop a shared vision for their team or unit, and plan how this will be communicated and monitored.
Some job sharing partners split the formal line management responsibilities for their staff, even if both partners work closely with all team members on a day-to-day basis. Although one person is formally the manager and writes the final end of year performance report, both managers will contribute to the report.
It is important to ensure that the working arrangements are clearly explained to your surrounding team members and that there are procedures in place when one partner leaves so that the job sharing arrangements can continue to work effectively in the future.
Objectives and responsibilities
Job sharers must have work objectives that reflect a balance between shared tasks and individual contributions so that each partner knows what is expected of them. This will depend on the nature of the job and how the partnership is set up.
At the beginning of the year, your manager should discuss with you both, and agree, objectives and how the yearly assessment process will work.
However, personal development plans will be different for each of you as you may have different levels of experience, skills or motivation.
We successfully delivered intense, fast-paced daily EU negotiations over more than 9 months meeting the Prime Minister’s negotiation red lines. And the job share brought real resilience through an exhausting and uncertain time.
“It's easy. Job share!” Claire and Marie-Anne's tips for job sharing
Our top tip is to trust each other implicitly – it’s really important to support each other and to be able to handover your work for the other person to take forward each week.
Be clear with your team and stakeholders how your partnership will operate – job sharing comes in many forms so clarity on ways of working helps everyone involved, and seeking regular feedback on how your partnership is going.
Two minds can be better than one - policy development is often richer for incorporating two different perspectives and more robust to challenge, so embrace this.
Be super organised – our model of job sharing involves handing over to each other twice a week, it’s important to handover thoroughly (this becomes easier as the partnership develops)
Finally, it’s important to have fun – an effective job share can be incredibly rewarding, both in terms of developing careers and maintaining work life balance.
Working together in a job share has been fantastic over the last few years. We know there are many other successful job share partnerships across the Civil Service. If you're thinking about job sharing, just do it. It's brilliant.
You can read Claire and Marie-Anne's full blog here
"We have been surprised by its benefits to us – it is energising to work in partnership"
"Communication will be the most visible part of your job sharing partnership. It's important that everyone feels that communicating with one partner is the same as with both."
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