06 Oct 2020

The need for flexible and remote working was increasing over the last couple of years, but the impact of the Corona virus has accelerated that need and indeed, flexibility and remote working the norm. However, there’s one workplace arrangement that still doesn’t get as much exposure as it should...


Job sharing – where two or more employees share one role – is the perfect solution for anyone keen to improve their work-life balance. But while the idea has been around for decades, statistics show that just 0.4% of people work this way. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that while most of us understand the theory, how a job share works in practice is less clear.


Perhaps one of the biggest myths is that job sharing is just for lower or entry-level positions. Lawyers Maggy Pigott and Judith Killick job shared together for 23 years. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour last year; they offered advice on how to make the arrangement work for both you and your employer:


  • Find a compatible and trusted job share partner who will complement your way of working  and don’t unpick something they’ve already done!


  • Propose a trial period so you can prepare properly and prove to your managers that it works.


  • Communicate clearly and make time for handovers.


  • Keep your ego in check – it’s a joint effort after all!

A recent Timewise study shows the number of people working in part-time higher income jobs (£40,000 plus) in the UK rose by more than 10% in 2018.


And it’s not just the legal profession where we’re seeing job sharing take off. The insurance sector is also starting to recognise the benefits of this way of working. 


Speaking to Dad Blog UK earlier this year, Sam White and Will McDonald from Aviva explained how sharing the role of Group Public Policy and Sustainability Director works for them.


“We both work three days a week, overlapping on Wednesday, and both keeping the same set days each week,” said Will. “On Wednesdays, we have about an hour of handover but otherwise we don’t duplicate so we are very rarely in the same room. We have a set of principles between us that are really useful in having a clear common understanding of how we work.”


Both men acknowledge their situation is still quite rare, but that the benefits are clear – both for the business and their own work-life balance.


“It has made a huge difference to how much time I spend with my kids and has transformed our relationship. I love it,” said Will.


“We are often told by colleagues they are surprised how smoothly it works. For our teams, we did a secret survey after about a year. We got 95% of the team saying it was working really well,” added Sam.


Job shares at Stopgap


Here at Stopgap, we’re great advocates of job sharing. Currently sharing a post, we have:


Jane and Zoe

Sibylle and Kelly

Lee and Kelly

Jackie and Moira


So what is their advice to employers thinking of introducing this option? 


  • Employees who enjoy a good work/life balance are happier overall.


  • Job sharers are usually extra diligent and super-productive on the days they do work, which helps to reduce presenteeism.


  • In a climate of modest pay rises and the demise of decent pensions, job sharing can help companies attract and retain great staff.


Want to learn more about job sharing and how it could work for you or your business? Contact us today. 

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