Job sharing can sound like both a complicated option and, potentially, an attractive one depending on how you look at it. Choosing to become a job sharer is not an easy decision. Here, we identify and explore some key factors for you to consider when thinking about job sharing, to help you identify the right points during the decision-making process and ensure the choice is right for you.
There are lots of reasons for choosing to job share when thinking about flexible working. We all have unique circumstances that we need to manage in different ways. It’s important to think about the nuances of your situation when evaluating the pros and cons of being part of a job share.
The six key areas to consider are:
- Work-life balance;
- Dialling up – learning from someone else;
- Dialling down – taking a step back from full-time work;
- Returning to work;
- Feeling valued;
- Living your purpose.
Negotiating the different demands of an increasingly networked and interconnected world can place a great strain on your work-life balance. While long hours at work are known to affect our health as well as impact our private lives, our families and, of course, enjoyment of our jobs.
Flexible working is one approach to managing these challenges better while still being able to work in a role you find interesting and that befits your career experience. Let’s be clear, job sharing can work well at any level in a business. In fact, it has been shown that job sharing in senior roles can be very successful .
Workload is reduced, decisions are considered from multiple perspectives before being made, clarity of objectives are sought, and stress is reduced. All of this supports a better work-life balance.
Dialling Up – Learn New Skills
The second item concerns your skills, and we call this area ‘dialling up’. Perhaps you are new to a role or an organisation and you need to get up to speed as quickly as possible? Or, perhaps you want to learn some skills you don’t yet have, such as leadership, project management or stakeholder engagement? Job sharing can offer you a platform for learning from someone with different skills and experiences.
Dialling Down – Reduce Your Hours
The opposite approach is known as ‘dialling down’, where you might choose to focus on how to work less and possibly reduce your level of responsibility within the company’s overall strategy. Both of these ‘dialling’ approaches can work well together if the sharers are at the right points in their careers.
Returning to Work
The fourth point on the list involves returning to work after an absence. This is most often seen following parental leave although many situations require individuals to leave the workplace midpoint through their career and support to return is equally important. Job sharing can offer a great way to continue managing family or personal commitments while having a career and contributing to the workplace.
Feeling valued is our next key area and one we feel strongly about. We recognise there are lots of people out there who can contribute positively to the workplace, but whose skills are perceived as most suitable for a role that ‘requires a full-time engagement’. They may have amazing skills and experience but are unable to undertake a full-time role. This section of the workforce is seriously undervalued, which can negatively affect their self-esteem over time. Job sharing gives you an opportunity to be valued by allowing you to contribute at a level that suits you.
Living Your Purpose
And, finally, what do we mean by ‘living your purpose’? Given the subjective nature of the concept, it’s not easy to define. Certainly, an individual’s sense of purpose is not exclusively linked to the workplace. For some, job sharing can provide a window outside of work through which to seek and find their purpose. Job sharing is right in this instance, as it allows them to focus on other things they love or need to do.
We are complex creatures and only having one job or one passion may not be enough. Job sharing can provide the time and space to better explore your purpose.
Job sharing can help you find your way in this complicated world.