What does job sharing involve?

When I return to my HR manager role from maternity leave, I would ideally
like to work part-time and am wondering whether a job-share would be the
answer. But, how on earth do you find someone to do the other half? What other
issues should I consider before going down this route? Or do you have any other

Grant Taylor, consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes

I suspect that you have a permanent full-time role at present, so you would
need to discuss the possibility of reducing your hours with your company. It
has a duty to consider your request seriously and look at ways of potentially
accommodating your request. It may be possible to reduce your hours by
delegating some of your work to a colleague, or advertise internally for
another person who may wish to job-share. It could be the case that your job
may be considered unworkable on a part-time basis and you would have to look
for a new job. Part-time roles are becoming increasingly common with more than
six million people in the UK working part-time, and although it can take some
time to find the right role, you should find a wide range of options available
to you. You could also consider spending more time working from home – cutting
your commuting hours and freeing-up more time to do those things you are seeking
to do outside work. You could even implement flexible working in your workplace
to rearrange your time without the need for reducing your total working hours.

Victoria Wall, managing director, Victoria Wall Associates

I have known HR managers who have been highly successful sharing their role.
With flexible working becoming more acceptable in general, an HR team should be
able to lead the way. Logistics need to be well planned, and I suggest that you
formally hand over to your colleague on a Wednesday, and share the same
administrative assistant. This person becomes a key liaison point to your
internal client base and staff. I would start by looking internally for someone
to share the role – someone who knows the culture of the firm and the systems,
and is keen to cut back on their own hours. If you are not success-ful with
this option, you will have to hire someone new – maybe with a slightly different
mix of skills and knowledge to compliment your own. There are many issues to
consider before taking this further, none of which have to be negative, but
would take too long to list now. Suffice to say that your contract of
employment and the company’s expectations of your role need to be explored
first and then a clear plan put into place.

Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy

If you are returning to work from maternity leave, you are entitled to ask
your employer if you can work part-time. While not legally obliged to
accommodate you, more and more employers are granting this option. They may
consider reviewing the hours needed to perform your role or they may take the
initiative to recruit a job sharer. If you are looking to approach a new
employer, then advertise in the personnel press for a job sharer or approach
your local branch. Another possibility is local colleges, which have part-time
personnel people on their books. A long-shot is to contact the specialist HR
recruitment agencies. Employers are generally more positive about flexible work
patterns, so talk to employers in your locality – particularly public sector

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