The hectic demands of the workplace create undue stress on many employees, especially when it comes to the seesaw between career and family. For many, the business world is all-consuming, requiring great amounts of time, energy and dedication.
An alternative among forward-thinking businesses today is job sharing, a concept that is simple, effective and beneficial to both employee and employer.
Your first step is to find someone compatible in your field, both professional and socially. After all, you will be working with that person very closely. The best choice is someone from your own department who feels as you do about career and family. If you think a moment, it's probable there is at least one person you can think of right away who fits this description. The two of you must have an open, sincere discussion of this concept, exploring all facets of job sharing. Honestly discuss your ability to get along with each other, to communicate, to discipline, to handle other personnel, to achieve work goals.
Your backgrounds don't have to be the same but should complement each other so strengths and weaknesses are in moderately balanced proportions.
Sit down and list all your combined experience, no matter how trivial. You will probably be amazed at how much knowledge you both have. Seeing this experience on paper will trigger ideas about what type of job you both should go after. Though the job you choose should be able to be broken down into individual facets so that the responsibilities are divided, make sure the job is suited to both partners. There is always you or your partner on the job, instead of just one person, and productivity increases because of the efficiency of two people working toward the same goal.
Write your proposal once you have targeted the job you want. Take meticulous care in laying out the benefits of job sharing. Discuss your work schedule and how you will divide authority and responsibility, as well as work as a team.
State how you will communicate with upper management and staff. Set up guidelines that you follow to the letter so others won't wonder who they should go to with problems and for directions. As you go along, continually point out the benefits.
Be as clear and concise to your prospective or current boss as possible. He or she will want to know why and how job sharing will benefit the company. One of the advantages is that two people sharing the same job will automatically supervise themselves because they want to prove the job can be well done. Also, employee benefits usually help the boss because two job sharers can work with reduced benefits to some degree, though that is an issue you should discuss thoroughly.
Flexible working arrangements are the door to the future, especially in our community where so many people are looking for part time jobs. As they help employees who need that diversity and aid employers who want to keep the company growing, job sharing and its many benefits are a better way for everyone.
Jan Kantor is a Southwest Florida business consultant and executive coach. For more information, or to contact him regarding workplace solutions, his website is www.jankantor.com.