Job sharing is when two employees share one full-time position. Job sharing is a form of flexible working as job sharers are part-time employees, however they are different in that they do not have a part-time job each.
Job sharing involves the following being shared in proportion to the hours each job sharer works:
- Tasks of the job
- Hours of work
- Pay and conditions
Advantages of Job sharing
- Improve recruitment opportunities as helps to attract qualified and experienced employees who do not want to work full-time.
- Improve employee retention as job sharing may appeal to employees, so you have the opportunity to keep valued employees who may otherwise look to leave for a part-time position.
- Reduce absenteeism due to more flexibility.
- Allows employees to have a work life balance and time to deal with personal responsibilities, peace of mind knowing someone else is working to fulfil the needs of the role when one employee is not working.
- Increased work outputs due to a wider range of skills and experience that is gained from two employees over one.
Disadvantages of Job sharing
- There are two employees in the job share, if they are not compatible, they may fail to share and handover work and keep coworkers and customers uninformed.
- Manager has to manage two employees in one role, they may not perform equally as well as each other
- Increased costs if there is a cross over day, unless this day is worked as half a day each allowing one-hour cross over for catch ups /hand over.
- If one job sharer leaves, it can be unsettling for the other job sharer about the future of the role, or compatibility of new sharer
Ensuring a successful job share
To ensure a job share is successful it is vital that the two employees sharing the role can get on with each other and both understand what is required of the job share. The job sharers must be able to communicate well with each other to ensure the continuity and effectiveness of the workload. A handover between both parties is vital, with modern technology this does not have to be face to face in the office, it can be done via phone calls, emails and video conferencing. Flexibility for phone calls and catch ups is important.
The work between both parties needs to be shared out equally and clear lines of responsibilities must be understood.
Tips for managing job shares
Divide the role the most effective way possible
Make the most of the skills and experience each of the job sharers can bring to the position. The responsibilities of the position do not have to be identical for both employees. If it does not matter at what point of the working week certain tasks are completed, it makes sense to divide responsibilities to ensure each employee has the tasks that match their capabilities. This can lead to a higher standard of performance from both employees resulting in motivated and engaged employees.
Use the full potential of flexibility
Employers can try to have a requirement for each job sharer to cover the other ones absences (including holidays), if possible as this could save on temporary cover costs and having the workload being covered by someone who is already fully trained in the role.
Effective communication between job sharers is vital. Employers need to ensure that the job sharers have the appropriate communication methods in place for them to both be able to carry out their role effectively and to communicate vital information to the other employee.
The following options could be used:
- An overlap of hours maybe needed to provide handover of information and key issues.
- A logbook/ spreadsheet or diary, so vital information is captured, logged and communicated,
- A shared email address and shared remote storage to access work each other has done,
- Or copying the other employee into emails so both parties have clear visibility.
- Weekly phone calls between both employees.
Set out clear contractual arrangements
A job sharers contract of employment must include a section about their working relationship with their job share partner. It must be clear to each job sharer that any pay-related matters get applied individually and that it is their own individual performance that is relevant to any bonuses or pay rises, they cannot rely on their job sharers performance neither can they be penalised for poor performance from their job sharer.
Also, in the contract it must clearly state what the process will be if one job sharer leaves the position.
The procedure should involve the following:
- Offering the remaining job share employee the role on a full-time basis.
- Trying to find a suitable new job share employee
- Attempting to redeploy the job share employee to a suitable role elsewhere in the business
- The right to terminate the employment if no alternate employment can be found.