Job Sharing – What it is, when to employ it, and how to make it work
Job sharing arrangement is a form of regular part-time work where two people or more share the responsibilities of one full-time position and split the hours.
There are various models of job sharing in which a workload can be split evenly or unevenly among two or more employees.
Job sharers can be similar or opposite personalities and work very well together, as long as they are compatible in terms of:
- Communication skills
- Work habits and organization systems
- Career goals
Since flexitime and flexspace policies are becoming more and more popular in modern workplaces, and job sharing is definitely an important variation of flexitime, as an employer you should definitely study closely whether job sharing is something that would benefit your organization.
It’s worth mentioning that job sharing is currently more popular in the public sector, but the private sector is slowly catching up, especially because many experienced workers are looking for a better work-life balance.
So, if you are an employee, maybe job sharing would be an ideal arrangement for your situation.
Imagine being responsible for only half of your workload and sharing the other half with a partner. What would you do with all the extra time if you were in a job-sharing agreement?
As you probably guessed, job sharing is especially suited to people who want to:
- have more free time,
- take better care of their families,
- or even work at two different jobs to expand their experience.
No matter if you are an employer or employee, we want to help you make job sharing work.
Let’s look closely at all the advantages and disadvantages of job sharing, what the different models of job sharing are, when to employ it and how to make it work, and which tools (such as the time & attendance application All Hours) can help you manage job sharing much more easily.
The advantages and disadvantages of job sharing
Any form of part-time work has its pros and cons, and job sharing is no exception to that. If you are aware of all the advantages and disadvantages, you have a much better chance of making job sharing work. So, here they are:
The advantages of job sharing
- More diverse skills and experience being utilized in a single position (especially when they are complementary)
- Enhanced problem solving by having two people work on the task
- Greater continuity and coverage of work during absences, decreased absenteeism
- Continuity of position skills and knowledge in case of one employee leaving
- Employees can keep their careers on track while having more time for family and other activities
- Two people can cover high peak workloads
- No additional expenses for a department
- Retention of top talent
Disadvantages of job sharing
- Finding compatible partners may be challenging
- Replacing a partner who leaves might be difficult
- Reversing the arrangement could be problematic
- The need to ensure that both employees work at least 50% of the time
- Added supervision effort to monitor two instead of one employee
- If employees overlap on some days, additional workspace may be required
- Implications for employees’ pay and benefits
As an employer you can find two suitable employees to share a job within the company, or you can look for new people on the market.
Most often candidates for job sharing already exist in the company and initiate the idea of sharing jobs.
Different job sharing models
There are many different job sharing models, but the two most popular are:
The twin model
In the twin model (job-share model) two employees share one full-time position and its workload – they work on the same tasks, on different days of the week.
Job sharers work on their joint responsibilities as a team, which requires effective communication between them. Some employers find it best if they have at least one work day overlap to brief each other on current activities and share information.
The weekly working hours of the two employees are most commonly split in two ways:
- Half or split days
- Half or split week
An example would be that one person works on Monday and Tuesday, while the second person might occupy the same position on Thursday and Friday, and they might both work on Wednesday for easier updates, transfer of information and knowledge, building a better working relationship etc.
The islands model
In the islands model, or job-split model, two employees share one full-time position, but not its workload. Employees specialize in different areas of the position’s duties, which enables them better focus and use of different personal skill sets to fulfil the role.
In a job split, employees are able to complete their tasks independently of one another.
An example would be if a company needs two IT experts with different skills (a system administrator, and cyber security expert, for example), but can’t afford to have two full-time employees. They can agree to share one IT job and employ two IT experts with different skillsets to fulfil the job requirements.
How to start job sharing and how to make it work
Now that you know the different job sharing models, let’s look at the main things you need to define at the start of the job-share arrangement:
- Division of responsibilities between job sharers
- Hours of work for each partner and possible overlap periods
- Clarifying how the salary and vacation days will be split, and what happens for sick days
- Communication tools
- The work evaluation procedure for both individuals and the team
- What happens if one job-share partner leaves or the arrangement doesn’t work?
It is also important for employees to agree on daily written handovers (with a system for prioritizing tasks and setting the time frames for completion) to keep track of the workflow, ensure continuity, and for employees to work efficiently as a unit.
They will also need a shared e-mail account, where it should be evident from their signatures who is available and when. This is the most efficient way to manage urgent e-mails, as either can reply.
Make sure both of the job sharers agree on the division of the workload and time-split, and set their working time in an employee-attendance tool.
Besides providing you with the legally required company timesheets, this will also ease your supervision efforts, as you will have a real-time overview of all worked hours and receive notifications about any violations.
And if you are a job sharer yourself, please keep these tips in mind:
- Choose someone you can easily communicate, solve conflicts, and collaborate with for your job-sharing arrangement.
- Make sure you follow the agreed rules, keep a positive outlook, and get frequent feedback.
- Expect that there will be an adjustment period in the beginning where you need to leave some flexibility to optimize the job-sharing model.
How to set split days for job sharing in All Hours?
In job sharing, splitting days usually means that one person works mornings and the other afternoons, but your employees can split days in any way agreed upon and you can adjust the All Hours work-time settings accordingly.
Here is how to do it:
1. Set the ‘Shif Plan’ rule to define the total hours to be worked in a week.
In the case of evenly split
days, set the ‘Plan’ rule to 4 hours from Monday to Friday for both employees.
2. Set the ‘Shift Start’ to 8 AM for each day. The rules below will be applied at the start of the shift.
3. Set the ‘Required time’ rule, when the two employees are required to be present at the office, according to their work schedule. In the example below, one employee works from 8 AM to 12 AM from Monday to Friday, and the other one covers the hours between 12 AM and 4 PM.
You will need a set of rules for one employee and a set of rules for the other with different Required time settings.
In the example below, we simply offset the start of the second employee's required time by 4 hours.
4. Set the ‘Paid time’ rule for the time in which worked hours for each employee will be taken into account as paid time.
You can set it according to the ‘Required time’ rule, but if you are expecting employees to change shifts sometimes, it will be easier for you to enable all 8 hours of the day for both of them. This way you will avoid manual corrections each time they change.
How to set split weeks for job sharing in All Hours?
1. Set the ‘Shift Plan’ rule to define the total hours to be worked in a week for each employee separately, according to the splitting agreement. In the example below, one employee works Mondays and Fridays, the other one Tuesdays and Thursdays, and they split the Wednesday workload in half.
2. Set the ‘Required time’ rule, when both of the two employees are required to be present at the office, according to their work schedule.
3. Set the ‘Paid time’ rule for the time in which worked hours for each employee will be taken into account as paid time.
You can set it according to the ‘Required time’ rule, but if you are expecting employees to change shifts sometimes, it will be easier for you to enable all 8 hours of a day for both of them. This way you will avoid manual corrections of hours each time they change shifts.
Track your flexible work hours with All Hours. Try it out for free, all features included!