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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.

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Having clear expectations and good communication is the key to successful job sharing. This includes agreeing on how written communications will be done, regular and timely handovers and what happens where there are disagreements.

Decorative image: Two men sitting at a desk, having an engaging discussion. One is facing the camera, the other is facing away.

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.

A lady wearing a hijab looking at her mobile phone whilst sat at a desk

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’. Job sharing managers must 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.

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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, on 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.

Two women looking at a computer screen, both are sitting down, one is pregnant
Decorative image: a Photo of Claire Dartington and Marie-Anne Barnes Deputy Directors at the European Finances, HM Treasury. One is sitting at a desk, and the other is on a laptop screen.

“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.”

Claire Dartington and Marie-Anne Barnes

Deputy Director, European Finances, HM Treasury.

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 to 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.

If you’re thinking about job sharing, just do it. It’s brilliant.

You can read Claire and Marie-Anne’s full blog here

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Job share tips: Better communication

The key to successful job sharing is good and clear communication, both with one another and with all colleagues and stakeholders. Communication with others will be the most visible part of your job sharing partnership.

“How I turned a full-time job into a job-share”

Want a job share, but don’t know where to start? For those dreaming of working part-time in a job share, the biggest challenge is often finding your professional ‘other half.’