Job Sharing: Yay or Nay?

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You may be fresh out of university, or perhaps you’re looking for a change of career 10 years down the line, but is a job sharing ever a good idea? Unlike a part time role, a job-share entails responsibilities that are not purely your own, and can bring both added support and additional stress. The Timewise Foundation found that in 2015 just 0.28% of all UK jobs were job-shares; a small number, given the recent introduction of legislation encouraging workers to ask for flexible working options.

Given the rarity of such roles, are they really a good idea? Why not just choose a part time role? And how can you go about obtaining one of these coveted positions? We’ve put together a guide on job sharing to help you get a good idea of exactly what you’re signing up for.

 

Obtaining a job-share role

There are two ways to land yourself a job-share; either you apply for an advertised job-share position, or you ask your employer if you can turn your current full-time role into a job-share. You may feel wary approaching this topic; 79% of employees feel that they couldn’t ask their employer about flexible work without it having negative connotations on their employment. Handled in the right way, however, this conversation can improve your working environment and relations.

If you plan on approaching your boss about job sharing make sure to present the concept in the best possible light. Before you do so, however, consider the following:

 

  • Is there a culture of flexible or part-time work in your office? The extent to which there’s a degree of pre-existing flexibility ought to give you an indication of how your boss will react to your request (or suggestion) that such a set up apply to you.

 

  • Is your job suited to sharing? Whilst certain roles actually benefit from the insight of two people, others are impossible to fulfill as anything other than full-time roles.

 

  • Can you offer to pick up emails or work flexibility outside of the set days you’re keen to agree? If so you’ll be able to reassure your employer and aid your new colleague, especially in their first few months.

 

 The pros of Job sharing: What’s all the fuss about?

 

  • Job sharing brings greater flexibility and more time in the week to spend either at home or pursuing other projects. Should these projects have a degree of risk and instability, you can still pursue what you love (such as drama, art or writing) whilst maintaining a degree of financial stability in your job-share role.

 

  • It's particularly ideal for those with children, allowing parents more time to bond with their child and leaving less time when child-care is required. If at home with children you will also likely be able to pick up some emails and do a little work at home, aiding the transition period into job-share.

 

  • Increased focus on work days. By distilling your work time down to 2 or 3 days of the week, you concentrate on implementing your best ideas and will be more focused on achieving all of your tasks within the reduced time period.

 

  • Shared responsibility. A problem shared is a problem halved, and whilst you won’t physically be in the office at the same time, you and your job-share partner will share the weight of any stress and strain pertaining to the role.

 

  • You can gain skills, insight and learn a new way of doing things from your job-share partner, which can strengthen your own way of working.

 

  • Should you so wish, a job-share role can sometimes lead to a full-time job, especially in start-ups and rapidly growing companies.

 

The cons of job sharing: some things to consider before leaping straight in

 

  • A part time job entails a part-time salary. If, however, you're job-sharing instead of leaving work altogether then a part time income can make a big difference to a household.

 

  • If joining a new company it may be more difficult to integrate into the office culture, especially if your job-share partner has been there a while and there’s a sense of having to live up to their standard or fill their shoes for half of the week.

 

  • You may be left out of the loop on both business and social matters when you’re not in the office. This can be solved by constant effective communication between you and your job-share partner, but is nevertheless a potential issue to address.

 

  • Job-sharing is only suited to certain jobs and career paths; there are various jobs and careers which are simply wholly unsuited to job-sharing.

 

  • You may find yourself having to work outside of your prescriptive work hours to communicate all of the information across to your partner, and monitoring your emails from home on a daily basis.

 

  • If you’ve taken a job-share role in place of, or because you’re struggling to find a full-time role, you may find yourself twiddling your thumbs for the remainder of the week, and becoming stuck in a rut between full-time work and unemployment.

 

In all, job-sharing can be a brilliant way to obtain the stability of employment whilst having the flexibility to take on other projects or look after children. In order to make the most of your job-share, be flexible, talk to you partner and ensure that through comprehensive communication you both understand your respective responsibilities. Don’t be precious or possessive of your role, and be prepared to share the successes and the problems of the job in order to make the most of the experience.  

 

 

Alexandra Jane is the writer and editor of graduate careers advice for Inspiring Interns, a graduate recruitment agency. Check out their website to see which internships and graduate jobs are currently available. Or, if you’re looking to hire an intern, have a look at their innovative Video CVs. 

 

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