Benefits of two brains on one job

What
characteristics combine to make the perfect job share partnership? In my last
column (February 20), I looked at findings of research into this area. But, as
in any relationship, job sharers need to develop together in order to succeed
and this month we look at tips for job sharing success. These include: plan and
organise your time and workload, be flexible with your partner and agree your
handover procedure and stick to it

We
asked a number of job sharers to relate their experiences. Four areas stood
out: keep talking, speak as one voice, bounce ideas off one each other and use
life outside work to add another dimension.

The
key area on which they agreed is that good communication skills are fundamental
to successful job sharing.

Soo
Arber, assistant to the head of commerce at J Sainsbury said, “In order to make
it work you need to make sure that you are always honest with each other and
communicate well. Keep everything documented, don’t keep it all in your head.”

Sally
Lawrence and Rosanne Macmillan have been job share partners in their role as
BBC continuity announcers for six years. 
They attribute their success to getting on well, being highly organised
and having complementary personalities. Macmillan asks the tough questions
while Lawrence is the quiet conciliator. 
But sometimes Lawrence has to adopt her partner’s style. 

Alison
Furness and Helen Lomas share a customer service manager role at British Gas in
Leeds. They have learned that if you do not speak as one voice you are likely
to find that people will play you off one against the other. “Alison and I
class ourselves as one person and have to work together to present the same
views to staff,” says Lomas.

Your
combined skill set will make you an effective team.  Make sure you maximise your assets, say Maria Cussell and Nicky
Thomson, who job share as relationship directors for Barclays. 

Cussell
said, “Barclays has the benefit of two brains on one job – Nicky and I work
extremely well together and bounce ideas off each other”.

Jo
Cummings, book buyer at WH Smith, believes that the ability to have a life
outside work allows you to develop other skills which you can use to your
company’s benefit. She says, “My company benefits from my role as a mother,
because I buy children’s books and can put my knowledge to good use”. 

Next
month, I will look at what personnel managers can do to make flexible work
practices live in their business.

By
Carol Savage, managing director, The Resource Connection, resource.connection@virgin.net

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