Top tips: job sharing

Job share jobs sound like the perfect way of doing a challenging job but only part time and the bosses get the experience of two people for the price of one. But how can you avoid the pitfalls of job sharing?

Two cut-out heads sharing ideas


Job shares are a two for one deal. Employers get two people’s experience for the price of one. However, having two people doing one job can create complications and it is best to be aware of them before you dive in so that you can sort as many of them out as possible in advance. We offer some tips for how to have a successful job share.

Who is your job share partner?

Make sure that you meet your job share partner and, if possible, have a fairly good idea of how they work, etc, before you start the job share. If you have completely clashing styles of working it can make things more difficult. That doesn’t mean you have to work in the same way, but it is good to have complementary styles.


Try to share out the tasks fairly so there is no sense of resentment that one person is getting an easier/more interesting job. This is particularly important if the job is not split 50-50. Sit down and plan from the outset how you will share particular tasks. For instance, the job may be split according to the individual job share candidates‘ experience and skills.

Good communication is essential

Ensure you have a good line of communication with your job share partner. Communication is vital so that you know what each other is doing and nothing slips through the net. If possible have a handover period, for instance, if you do two and a half days on the half day make sure you cross over for an hour so that you can fill your partner in on what has been happening. If this is not possible, make sure you have a chat over the phone and email your partner with any vital things she/he needs to be aware of. Don’t, if possible, just leave it to email exchanges. Written communication can be confusing and it is best to talk through the issues and any surrounding issues.

Information sharing

Be very clear on how you are going to store information so that your job share partner has access, whether this is in a filing cabinet or on your computer. Make sure there is an area which is jointly accessible by both people.

Management expectations

Make sure your manager sets realistic expectations for the job share and does not assume he or she should get double the productivity out of you because there are two of you.

Training for two

Ensure both you and your job share get access to training if it is applicable to both of you.

Holiday entitlement

Be very clear about things like holiday entitlement. For instance, bank holidays should be split fairly between the two job share candidates. Also be clear of what will happen should your job share partner leave. Do you have responsibility for finding a new job share partner?

Manager responsibilities

Job shares require careful management. It can be difficult to performance manage two candidates doing the same job. Managers will have to develop strategies for ensuring that both candidates’ performance is fairly measured.



Comments [1]

  • Anonymous says:

    I am in a job share position where my colleague comes to work to suit her own needs. The job was originally mine and I needed to ask for job share after I came back from maternity leave.
    It seemed to go ok at first although there was a problem right at the beginning when she came in on my days to be trained for a couple of weeks. I could not come in on her days due to nursery cover. I then realised that she needed further training as we had only scratched the surface and when I mentioned it to her she didn’t want to come in further as she was not contracted to work my days of the week and she wanted to have the challenge of working it out for herself. We do an administration job with specific tasks done for specfic reasons. I felt that this wasn’t the best way to support either her, the job or myself who would be picking up the mistakes and so spoke to our manager who said she would speak to her. In the meantime she had had a change of mind as she thought she must be stupid as she didn’t know it all and realised that the job was more complicated and that she needed more training. She continued to come in on my days for a period and then adhoc to complete the less urgent training and would swap round days to suit her needs. There would be no discussion around whether this worked for my part of the job but in fairness this worked until she came in on two of my days, a Monday and a Tuesday so that she could take her days as part of her holiday without having to book leave. I realised we had no further need for training and that if we continued to cross over there would be insufficient work on a given day for both of us. From my previous experience, speaking to her directly did not work so I spoke to our manager who was new and explained why we had been crossing over and that there was no need to do so from now on. The manager had wondered why she had come in on my days and was not impressed that my colleague had not spoken to her about it and from then on there was a difficult relationship between them. I don’t know exactly why as I was not in on the same days other than my colleague would build up flex and the manager would make sure she worked within the parameters set by the council to take it and not continue to build it.
    We then had an office move as a team and in the new area some of the work had to be a paperless system.
    As I was the first one in, I had to sit down and work out a computor based procedure in order to get the work done. I emailed the procedure to my colleague, who told me at some point as an excuse for not picking up the work, that it was too long to read and she didn’t have time to read it so she then proceeded not to do that part of the work. I came in for a few hours, two years ago before my holiday to train her on this part of the work so that it would be covered while I was away and she did it for those two weeks and had not done it since. This work comes in to a shared inbox so I would come in each week and see that it had not been done but it took comments from colleague’s and a report from another manager to really highlight to me what was happening. I had a lot of other stress in my life with my son’s father and I think that I felt guilty that I had gone to a manager and it had worked out badly and my job share went through a lot of personal stress so I think I made excuses for her and carried her.
    I tried to tackle it by email at some point but someone else later pointed out that my frustration was coming through in the email and in her opinion my job share colleague handled it well in her response. Nothing changed. Finally, in November last year I had some councelling to try to resolve the situation with my son’s father (I have finally got some resolution as I made a statement to the police and they gave him a verbal warning and after that I was able to stand up to him as he couldn’t communicate directly, he would do it by text and he realised that if he sent something threatening again I would go back to the police) and I spoke about my job share and she made me realise that it wasn’t ok to be doing most of the work.
    We had a new manager by this time and I decided to speak to her about what was happening. She asked how it could be verified and I said that she could run reports from the system. She did and came back to me visibly shocked and said my feelings where correct that I was doing the majority of the work and that she would deal with it.
    Nothing happened until February (I think) when she met with both of us. In the meantime she had allowed me to change my hours around so that I worked some of them on a Wednesday when my colleague was in as I had been having problems with my son in after school care and wanted to stop the after school care. She tackled it by asking us to fill in an excel spreadsheet and said it was for setting appraisal targets. At the next meeting when we had been filling it in for a while, my colleague asked if someone had complained if she was slow and my manager said no but it would become a disiplinary issue if it showed that she was. We also have a second manager who does the actual performanace appraisals as we where put through a redundancy process last year and made part of an admin hub. The sheets showed that we where doing equal hours on the routine work as I had been given another project to do, something that had upset my colleague but I was given it to do on the crossover time and because I had been flagging up that I had spare capacity. Something that my colleague has constantly tried to persuade me not to do and I realised recently that I think it is because she builds up about six days flex a year so that she can have extra holidays and I have constantly been looking round for work to do and in past always clearing work before she came in on a Wednesday and wondering what she then found to do.
    The manager who set the excel sheets felt that it showed the work was all equal but there where two area’s of work that where only being done by me and I have pointed this out to the other manager and she has then attempted to resolve it. They have asked us to meet to do a handover and some joint project work around procedures, although this came out of us asking for this as appraisal targets and my colleague booked a room for us to meet once a week as she felt a handover in the office would be disruptive to others. I didn’t agree but went with it as I want to work with her to resolve things. This has given her a opportunity to challenge me and tell me things she is angry about generally and towards me. I have been trying to deal with this and put another point of view across, while feeling that I could not say that I had been angry about stuff and only able to say that I had felt unsupported in the role as I did not feel she was in any place where she would listen to any one else’s feelings. What has come out of this has been increased frustration on my part as nothing is getting done around the work stuff, partly from the lack of open communication among everyone and an impression from everything my colleague has said and her challenges to me because I care about the job that she does not want to work to resolve it as she just wants an easy life that suits her needs. She works to have money for hoildays and doesn’t want to get that involved with things. This frustration has been expressed to the hub manager who has been trying to resolve things and has asked for a handover document and my job share colleague does not want me to do a handover as we are meeting most Wednesdays and she thinks I express things in too complicated a manner (and yes I am sure that comes across in this post). I have asked to do it even if we are crossing over in case I am off sick. Plus the other manager has now sent an email round expressing her frustration and sabotaging the whole process. She basically doesn’t manager the team and want’s us to sort out the problems ourselves. I have had several people say that this should be something management are dealing with and I don’t think I should have been involved in this way now. She basically sides with my colleague and has supported her in the past when she fought against taking on work from the admin hub because she said that it had taken her a long time to learn this job on two days a week and didn’t want to have to learn more, although my colleague applied for the job which transferred virtually to the hub and would not offer any support to the hub team when they where floundaring at the beginning. I did offer as we had spare capacity and had been protected by being allowed to remain sitting with our original team but I think there are politics here as well as the manager above fought to keep us out of the hub and is trying to get the roles brought back under her team.
    I have spoken to the team manager recently and basically realised that she probably has issue with me as my need to work may be triggering stuff in her as she does not know our jobs or what we do and sends emails around to get people to do the euro lottery as she want’s to leave. That’s an over simplification but she seems to do very little and is not managing and is probably angry at me because she just want’s this situation to go away. In fairness she has an ausistic son and I know that must be challenging. At the end of the conversation she said she would talk to Karen and the shamed us both for not being able to resolve this. I agree and the other manager has now said the same although she saw the first managers email when she came back from leave and said, that, that was not helpful and that she felt it has taken us four steps back. I don’t know what is happening now as I hit rock bottom emotionaly as I realised there is no support from the team manager and I got sick. I have been to the doctor yesterday and I am signed off for a further week as I am not getting well and now I am not sleeping well as well.
    I do know what my issues are in this situation and I have trouble with aggression from others. My colleague has always been angry and frustrated about things and deals with things in an angry way and I have trouble dealing with that and my anger obviously comes out in indirect ways and I have trouble expressing myself when I feel emotionally unsafe. I know a lot of this comes from my history and I know her’s does as well but I feel I am in a situation where I can’t make any headway with management, partly because they seem to be working against each other, unless they now intend to unite against me and I would like us to be able to work together to do the job well and for me not to be picking up the lions share or her mistakes as she doesn’t really care about the job. And I need to work as I am on my own with my son.

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