A job-share is like a marriage…and sometimes opposites attract!
You need personalities that work together, but it is not a disadvantage to work in different ways. It can work really well when job-sharers bring different strengths to the table.
Respect One Another
There may be times when you have different ideas about how to do things or a different opinion of where you see things going, but communicate, work through any issues together and if you do disagree, work those disagreements out between yourselves.
A job-share won’t work if there is competition between the pair or any ‘one upmanship’. It’s not a relationship that works well if there are big egos at play. There will be times when you have to compromise and when you might think ‘I would have done that slightly differently’ but those times will be rare – and it’s good to remember no one’s always right! Even the most experienced people can learn something new when they work collaboratively, so be open to that and respect that your job-sharers ideas and input are just as valid as your own.
Ultimately, remember that you’re both on the same side and working towards the same goal. You can provide each other with enormous support and be a great sounding board for one another. A successful job-share is one that is built on mutual respect and trust.
Have a similar skillset
You don’t have to have the exact same experience, but you should always have a similar level of experience to your job-share partner. It doesn’t as well work when one person is effectively mentoring another in a role, or if one person considers themselves to be more senior to the other.
Apply as a pair
The best way to approach a job-share is as a ready-made pair. If Heads of Production or Talent Managers have to match two job-sharers, that can increase their work-load.
However, it is also useful to have a few options too – so that if for whatever reason one job-share pairing isn’t quite right for a particular job, you have other options to offer up.
You have the power in your combined years of experience to push for a working structure that works for you. Don’t be afraid to discuss openly what will work for you and what won’t.
Structure your job-share according to the contract
Suit your job-share to the demands of the contract and be flexible when it comes to your employer’s needs. Have an open and honest conversation with your job-share partner and your employer about what you can realistically commit to. If the job requires late nights or weekend work, think carefully about what you can do. Responsibilities need to be split fairly – it won’t work if one half of the job-share is committed to working late on their working days, but the other half of the job-share needs to leave early most days. These are all things to discuss up front.
Communication is key
CC each other in on absolutely every email (or set up a shared email address if you prefer). Be prepared to take the occasional phone call even on days you’re not technically at work. Discuss any really major changes before they happen. Always debrief your job-share partner with comprehensive and detailed handovers both by email and on the phone. If appropriate, send uploads of the latest cut so that your job-share partner is always kept fully up to speed and no work time is wasted.
Present as one voice
Before you start the job, think through exactly how you will present as one voice to your employer. An employer needs to be able to interact with a job-share team in exactly the same way as they would with a single person. Support each other’s decisions and keep any logistical discussions behind the scenes!