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PKF Australia

Accountants and Business Advisers

Job Sharing And Part-Time – What's The Difference?

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Nick Falzon

Partner

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Job Sharing And Part-Time – What's The Difference?

Flexible work arrangements are now a well-entrenched, and extremely valuable, part of everyday life. The combination of technology, evolving management and changing work requirements has made it the norm rather than the exception for people to work anything but 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, but there remains a great reserve in how much value can be extracted from the practice.

When utilised effectively, a policy of flexible working arrangements can help ensure employing companies have access to a broad and diverse talent pool to select their team from, the company can provide innovative solutions to their clients and they will generally have a more motivated workforce. The employees of these companies can be more effective in their jobs because they can assess, with their managers, what their most important KPIs are. In turn, they can determine what is required to meet these KPIs and how best to achieve them while balancing other interests or commitments in their life. This last point, being the ability to balance work and other aspects of their life, is so valuable to all of us and makes us better workers as well.

However, to make the most of the opportunity that flexible working creates we all need to understand the options open to us (managers and employees) and how best to use them in the specific circumstances that present themselves. Job Sharing is an excellent alternative for flexible work arrangements, but it is often misunderstood. I was recently (politely) corrected when I referred to a person’s work arrangement as Part-Time when in fact it was Job Share. As was pointed out to me, Job Share involves two people sharing the same job not one person doing a job which can be accomplished in less than five days of full-time work (aka Part-Time). In Job Share, if you have a role which requires a Full-Time employee you can Job Share by having one person work say Monday to Wednesday, the other does the same job but on Thursday and Friday. Often a one-day crossover is very effective (i.e. one person is Monday to Wednesday and the other is Wednesday to Friday) to help communication and collaboration.

Job Share makes sense in so many ways. In my observation the primary two benefits are:

  1. It brings two minds to a particular role promoting all the collaboration benefits that come from that.
  2. It also means a job is covered every day while allowing employees the flexibility they desire while only paying the equivalent of one salary.

The point on job coverage is very important; I am sure we have all experienced roles where Part-Time just does not work because some matters need to be dealt with immediately and inevitably, and the Part-Time employee is regularly contacted on the days they are not meant to work. The employee ends up working Full-Time but paid for Part-Time…. not very motivating, efficient or fair. Job Share solves this problem. Of course, Job Share has its own set of challenges; my single biggest piece of advice is bringing a pair to a Job Share role as a pair. Never select two people at your discretion, bring them together and begin the Job Sharing from there. This is the equivalent to making Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic play doubles together and wondering why it doesn’t work as well as it should.

And by the way, I only had to be corrected once about confusing Job Share and Part-Time because the person correcting me was my wife.


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