Are you already job sharing?

Two people job sharing to increase diversity

For a long time, the standard for employment was a full-time job. But now the world is changing, we have a “Gig” economy that takes up most of the labor force, and studies show it is continue to grow. And so we have a variety of forms of work – freelancing, temporary jobs, and sharing jobs. All of these jobs are helping to increase diversity as well. But let’s have a look, what job sharing is and how you can use it to increase diversity in your teams.

Have you ever heard about job sharing?

Job Sharing is a famous work arrangement where usually two team members (sometimes even more) split their hours to share tasks and responsibilities that usually one person does at a full-time job. But is it really a working job model? Sure, any job can be shared if it’s done reasonably and thoughtfully.

We have a new view on the flexibility of working hours and location; remote and hybrid working arrangements are becoming more popular, and job sharing is really appropriate in all these cases.

Job sharing is much more developed in the public sector, but the private sector is also starting to adapt and change, as it sees many benefits in it.

Why do people do it?

There are a variety of reasons why people choose to work part-time and share the job.

  • They need to take care of children or other family members,
  • They want to continue their education or study something new,
  • They also work part-time in other jobs and it is important for them to have these different experiences and fulfill all interests, which is sometimes impossible with one job and the same tasks every day,
  • They need more free time for themselves and more work-life balance,
  • They are lacking some of the skills or expertise required to fulfil the jobs tasks
  • They need time to deal with illness, burnout or stress.

Job sharing models

There are several ways to split work, but two of them are the most popular. Depending on the job, your skills, and your preferences, some of these variations may be better suited for you.

“Island model” or “job split” – where employees are responsible for different tasks. They have different skills and are responsible for different tasks, and they have different duties, but at the same time, they work on the same project and complement each other organically.

“Twins model” is a model where people work on the same tasks but choose different times and/or days to work. They can either split days or weeks. A popular example is a situation where one worker may work on Monday and Tuesday, and the second on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, they could work together, which helps them to be on the same page and work efficiently.

How to share the job productively and how to make it work?

There are a few things that have to be regarded when applying a job sharing model:

  • Choose job partners very carefully. You need to choose someone who can listen actively, know how to resolve conflicts, and communicate effectively. It is also better to share the work with someone who has complementary rather than having the same skills.
  • The people who share the work and their supervisor should talk and agree on how exactly employees will divide the work
  • People in job sharing should be compatible with each other – with their work and organizational habits, career goals and communication skills
  • The supervisor should be clear about vacation days, salary, and sick days and how to divide them up
  • It is also important to have a clear system for each employee to evaluate the work of both workers
  • It is recommended to introduce a mediator, who can be consulted in case of discussions and conflicts.

Why companies should consider job sharing

At first, job sharing seems not to be so easy to be implemented. For sure not only the leader of the job sharing employees have to adjust to it but also the rest of the team. However, there are lots of benefits that job sharing can bring.

First and foremost, the skills and expertise that are brought in for one position is increased. As two employees with different skill sets will be sharing the position, they can learn from each other and provide more skills and expertise to the company.

On the other hand, there is no need for finding a deputy during absences such as holidays, as the job sharer will not be on leave at the same time.

Last but not least, job sharing is a great opportunity to increase diversity as it provides the opportunity for assign employees from different backgrounds, industry or level of experiences to the position.

Are there any disadvantages of this system?

As there are a of advantages job sharing brings, the question remains if everything really is so easy and convenient?

Every kind of work has advantages and disadvantages, and job sharing is no different. Like everything else, job sharing isn’t the universal solution. There may be situations where workers sharing a job can’t agree on workload, hours, or responsibilities.

  • It may be challenging to find compatible employees and even more difficult to replace one of them.
  • It’s difficult to ensure that each worker keeps agreed-upon hours, isn’t overworked, and the work is divided “fairly” among both employees.
  • More time is needed to lead two employees and take care of their performance and progress for both of them.
  • If two employees work in the office at the same time, you need extra space for the second employee.

Is Job Sharing for you?

Job sharing is a great way for people to have more personal time – to live a more balanced life, take care of family members, study, or even work at another job concurrently. At the same time, a team of two people is more diverse and has more perspectives, which can be a great benefit to everyone involved – employer and employee.

Communication is key to success in job sharing. You can’t job share without clear and transparent communication. It simply won’t work. You just need to create a system and relationship between you that really works.

Job sharing is one of the many tools and approchase that have been considered by our leading company, Siemens, to increase the diversity in their tech teams. Check out, what they have committed to as part of the Role Models in Tech campaign here.

Photo by The Jopwell Collection on Unsplash