How to job share
By Nathalie Towner
Job sharing is frequently overlooked when people think of
flexible working. Yet it’s a great option for anyone who
wants to work part-time, as it allows two people to share
responsibility for a full-time job. Organisations also gain by
having two employees bringing different experiences and skills to
the post. Job sharers need to be well organised and it takes a lot
of work to make the arrangement successful.
1 What is a job share?
It involves two people splitting a full-time job and is possible at
all levels, junior and senior. The job sharers both work part-time
and split the pay according to the number of hours worked.
“When you start out you need to consider the personalities
and styles of the two people involved,” says Rebecca Clake,
advisor for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
“The most important thing is to spend time planning in
advance how it will work.”
2 Develop a working relationship
“It was particularly important early on to have overlapping
days. It really does pay dividends to spend days together at the
beginning. You need time to develop the relationship,” says
Ann Davison, who job shares as carers’ strategic development
manager at Cambridgeshire Council. “It will make or break
the job, as otherwise minor irritations could make the situation
untenable,” she adds.
3 Know the whole job
“We decided between us how we were going to split the
work,” explains Ann Davison. It is not two part-time jobs, as
the work must be carried out as if one person were working
full-time. “In reality there will be an element of divvying
up who does what,” says Clake. “It is important though
that it works as one job and both individuals need knowledge of the
whole job.” Davison agrees and says considerable time is
spent sharing news and discussing how something should be done.
“There is a lot of overlap but we also have our particular
responsibilities,” she says. Davison also has a three-way
meeting booked in once a month with her job sharer and line manager
to discuss strategic decisions where they all need to be
It’s also important that other colleagues understand the
concept of job sharing. “When two people are wondering how to
work together they need to think about communication,” says
Clake. “If they’re dealing with service users it has to
be clear to them how it will work with two people in the
job.” Many job-sharers will have cross-over time in the
office so they get a chance to share information. You can keep a
log of everything that is going on. Some people will even be happy
to be contacted on their days off if it helps the whole process
operate more smoothly. “You have to invest time in
establishing ground rules,” says Davison.
5 Career development
Job sharing is not that common but it is destined to grow in
popularity as more people choose to work flexibly. “Job
sharing is a great way of allowing more women to have access to
more interesting jobs,” says Davison. “I’m
surprised by just how satisfying it is and I really value my
relationship with my job share colleague and we put in a lot of
effort to make it work.”