What is job-sharing and could it work for you?

mum at work looking over shoulder

mum at work looking over shoulderIf you are fed up with juggling a full-time job and your family responsibilities, job-sharing can make a great compromise.

You won’t have to give up your position at work or end up compressing your work into fewer days. But how can you go about it, and will it work for you?

What is job-sharing?

Job-sharing is when two or more people share a full-time position. It could be that you work three days a week while a colleague works the other two, or you could work one week on, one week off.

Job-sharers need to be well organised and willing to either have weekly handover meetings or write extensive handover notes.

If you are returning to work after maternity leave, are a full-time employee who has worked for the company for at least 26 weeks continuously and have not applied for flexible working in the last 12 months – then by law your employer must consider your application for job-sharing. They can reject it on business grounds, but must give a valid reason.

You don’t have to find the other person to share the job with you, although if you have someone in mind when you make the application, this may help you.

The benefits of job-sharing

A common complaint from employees who have asked for a reduction in hours is that their workload doesn’t decrease – they simply have to squeeze more into office hours. The benefit of job-sharing is that you have someone to share both the workload and the responsibility.

Additionally, people who job-share often admit that working fewer hours makes them more motivated. They enjoy their job more with fewer pressures and have someone to support them.

The downside of job-sharing

If you’re working fewer hours, the likelihood is that you won’t feel as ‘in the loop’ as full-time workers. It could be that you aren’t present for important meetings and feel left out of decision-making – or perhaps even the office gossip.

You may not get on with the person who is sharing your job, or feel that they are pulling their weight – this is vital to making it a success. You don’t want to spend all your office hours correcting their mistakes.

Your wages will be obviously be reduced. You may also need to check whether working fewer hours affects other benefits such as your pension and any health insurance. You will save on commuting and childcare costs though – and if your job-share partner is another mum, you may be able to share childcare too.

How to convince your employer you should job-share

Explain to your boss that not only will they retain your skill set, but another person’s expertise too – so they will be getting more for their money!

Make yourself available to find the job-sharer – one less job for them.

Highlight that there will be less sickness and holiday gaps – i.e. if you work two-and-a-half days per week but are ill for an entire week they will still have cover for the other two-and-a-half days.

Make it clear that you’ll be more committed to the business as your employer has shown a willingness to adapt with you.