The world of flexible work has a variety of faces, and one of those is a job share. Defined as one full-time job split between two part-time employees, a job share can be an excellent way to find the work-life balance you need and provide you with an income. But unlike a regular part-time job where you’re completely responsible for your workload, you have to know how to job share in order to make it work for you—and your company. Here’s how to succeed in a job share.
Know who you’re working with.
More often than not, you can’t pick who you’re going to job share with. But getting along with your coworker is a crucial component of a successful job share. So once you’re given the green light to job share, take the time to get to know the other person with whom you’ll be working with. After all, you’ll both be responsible for the entire position, so getting along with the person, on both a personal and professional level, can make all the difference.
Divide your job up the right way.
Once you’ve taken the time to get to know your fellow job sharer, take an overall view of your position, from soup to nuts. Then, decide how you’re going to divvy up the duties. You should determine this based on both of your collective strengths and weaknesses. While you might not love every task that you’re assigned, if the majority of the responsibilities work well with your personality then you’ll do well.
Communicate clearly—and often.
Like in any relationship, good communication is a key to success. And never is that more the case than with a job share. Because both you and your coworker will ultimately be responsible for the entire workflow and output of your shared position, it’s in your best interest to communicate as clearly as possible—and as often as possible. For example, if you’re passing off part of an assignment to your coworker, letting her know how much progress you’ve made (and what still needs to be done), can not only keep her updated, but help her complete the task, too.
Know what to expect.
There are bound to be bumps in the road when you have a job share. The goal is to work so seamlessly that it’s almost as if one person is responsible for the position. Make sure that coworkers copy both of you on work-related emails, and keep your company apprised of your schedules as well as how to reach both of you should an emergency arise. Most of all, emphasize how the two of you working together is a win/win for the company.
Ask for feedback.
Sometimes you can get so immersed in your work that you might miss the forest for the trees. That’s why it’s important to ask for feedback from your boss and colleagues to find out if everything is going well, and what tweaks can be made to improve your job share. But just as you ask for feedback, be sure to also communicate with your boss and provide your own feedback for how you’re finding the position, too. That way, modifications can be made if need be.
If you’re currently working for a company but need to reduce your hours, consider proposing a job share – a great way to continue in a career you love and have the flexibility you need.
photo credit: istockphoto.com