Job-sharing is becoming a popular solution to the part-time conundrum of squeezing full-time roles into less days.
I often here job-share described in reverence for the perfect match with analogies of marriage and partnership – that 1 in a million work soul mate that’s impossible to find. Actual romantic relationships are hard enough and I think the mythical job-share unicorn often puts people off considering it as an
But there are an infinite number of ways to design a job-share arrangement that makes sense for everyone involved.
Here are five job sharing possibilities you probably haven’t even considered yet
1. A job-share arrangement can make you the perfect candidate
Mixing together two skill sets, experiences and background can transform your job application into a super-candidate with a breadth and depth that’s unlikely to exist in a single person.
2. You can job-share with more than one person
Split parts of your work across more than one person, or have a different person cover different days when you’re not in. Draw from existing members of your team or other teams.
3. You can job-share with someone more junior (or senior)
Job-sharing doesn’t have to be a partnership of equals, you can partner with someone more senior or more junior, just be clear on who is responsible for what.
4. Use your job-share status to develop key talent
Partnering with a more junior member of the team can be a great way for your job-share partner to develop skills and safely practice higher-levels of work that can be hard to otherwise access. It can be a great way to retain a high-performer that’s looking for a promotion.
5. You don’t have to equal 5 days
Job-sharing doesn’t have to equal 5 days. It’s common for job-share partners to do 3 days each, with a handover day. Job sharing with junior people might mean that they work full-time and only cover the role on the days you’re not in. I’ve even seen arrangements with a full-timer and a part-timer at the same level. As long as there’s work to be done, it’s clear who needs to do it and the budget can handle it, the sky is the limit in terms of combinations of people and hours.
Once you’ve found a job-share arrangement that’s worked for you, make sure you document the details in an agreement with you, the person / people you’ll be sharing the role with and your manager. Set specific times in advance for everyone involved to review the arrangement and iterate when you need to (I recommend reviewing every 3 months).
There’s a world of wisdom out there, so look around for colleagues and friends who can share their wisdom with you. Special thanks to my friends and clients, Dominik Nicholls and Nicole Jones who have shared their wisdom with me, and Michelle Maugueret whose job-shared with me in the most unconventional and enjoyable of ways.
Ellen Hooper is an executive coach and people & culture consultant and an advocate for diversity and inclusion in workplaces. Connect on LinkedIn or Instagram.