Of all the flexible work options out there, a job share might be one of the least common. In effect, job sharing happens when two part-time workers split one full-time position. It can be great for employees seeking part-time employment, and also for companies, since they get two part-timers tackling the same job.

If you’re considering a job share as a flexible work option, these five tips can ensure success:

Ditch your ego.

In order for a job share to work, it’s important to truly have a team mentality. That means not trying to grab all the glory when your boss piles on the praise for a job well done. It also means that the accomplishments (and failures) that happen because of a job share should be split equally with your partner.

Improve your communication skills.

No matter what type of field you’re in, having solid communication skills is critical, especially if you’re part of a job share. Beyond communicating with your coworkers and your boss, you and your job share partner will have to be in sync 100% of the time. If not, deadlines might be missed, emails could go unanswered, and clients may be kept waiting. When you’re working, it’s best to give your partner an EOD report so that he knows exactly what you got done—and what you didn’t—and where he needs to pick up.

Decide how to divvy up the duties.

For the most part, it will probably be up to you and your job sharing coworker to determine how to assign the various responsibilities of the job. But before you go rushing to divide the duties, think about each person’s strengths—and weaknesses. Maybe you have a better phone disposition than your job sharing colleague, so calls should be handled by you. Or you might find that your coworker is a true
wordsmith, and can crank out emails and letters faster than you can. Go through your job, top to bottom, and assign tasks based on each other’s talents.

Manage expectations.

People unfamiliar with a job share might have some preconceived notions about how it works. They might think that you’re both working full-time and could expect 24/7 service. So clue in the people you’re in contact with—from coworkers to clients—that you and your fellow job sharer are splitting the job, and how they can reach either one of you…and more importantly, when. Things can go sour with a job share when people expect to hear back from one person, only to hear back a day or two later from another, because they weren’t told about scheduling. That way, it can be an easy transition for all to become accustomed to.

Address the issues.

As with any job, there is going to be a learning curve, and a job share is no different. It will take some time for both of you to get used to the job, and more importantly, working so closely with each other. Set a time limit to see how your first few weeks work out, and then reassess your situation in about a month or so. Be honest about what worked—and didn’t—during that trial period so that you can proactively prevent any potential problems in the future. Then, you and your partner can both bring your best to your shared position.

Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com

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