One solution for parents who want to be able balance work and family responsibilities more equitably is to job share. Although most jobs are suitable for job sharing, many companies are still suspicious of it. Nevertheless there are many advantages for both companies and individuals.
What Is Job Sharing?
Job sharing isn't just "working part-time" even though you don't work a full week. Job sharing means just that. You share the job. You divide the work hours, the salary, the vacation time, and the responsibility. You also shouldn't lose out on promotion prospects which can happen to part-time workers.
What Sort Of Job?
Most jobs can be job-shared. Whether you are an administrator, doctor, lawyer, manager, nurse, teacher or even a police officer you can probably share your job. Obviously the higher up the ladder you are in your company the harder it may be to get the management to agree. If you design a formal job sharing proposal with the help of your workers representative or a job-sharing specialist you are more likely to get your manager's agreement.
Finding Your Job Partner
You may already know your job-share partner. Someone in your company may also be thinking of working part-time. If you are both on the same grade doing similar work your company might be only too happy to retain both of you in a job-share arrangement than risk losing two employees at once. Networking is another good way of finding someone to job-share. Alternatively try a professional recruitment agency or on-line job-sharing site to help you to find your match.
Dividing The Job
You and your job-share partner may want to alternate mornings and afternoons , split the week in half down the middle with some hand-over time, alternate days or even alternate weeks. You may even agree to cover for each other for sickness or vacations, which is a big plus for your employer as they don't need to get a substitute. However this may put you at a disadvantage if your job-sharer needs to take a lot of time off which could cause problems with the payroll department.
Depending on the nature of your work, you may want to share all tasks equally. To do this you need to have similar working styles and skills. Another way of sharing the work is for each person to be responsible for a different skill area. If you have complementary skills your employer benefits from a 'two heads rather than one' approach on many tasks. This can help sell the idea to your immediate boss. Developing a sense of being in a team is essential and you must have a clear allocation of responsibility. If you want your colleagues to support your job-share they need to be confident that they know who is doing what and when.
For job-share positions co-ordination is vital and one way you can do this by having some 'overlap' time. This helps foster the feeling of being a team. Other methods include keeping a work diary where everything is written down, telephone co-ordination, or of course emailing. Many jobs which require 24 hour cover like nursing, or shift managers are already effectively job shared and have excellent co-ordination and hand-over procedures.
Job sharing is becoming more popular with both employees and employers. Over 28% of firms in the US offered job-sharing positions in 2001 compared to 18% in 1990 according to US Today.