Isabel and Bettina work in the “Talent Development” HR team and have been job sharing for a year.
by Isabel and Bettina, HR, Zurich
27 Jan 2017
They share their thoughts on how Job sharing works for them.
What are the most important reasons for job sharing for you both?
We both wanted to work part time with a workload of no more than 60 percent each. However, it was still important for the role to be challenging. The only prerequisite for our desk head was that together we would cover five days a week. A job share was therefore the ideal solution for us all.
What elements of the job share would you not want to do without?
The certainty that during a work-free day, the job-sharing partner is in the office and the role is 100% covered. When either of us comes back to work after our days off, we aren't confronted with a flood of unread e-mails. With holidays and absences, the cover is already in place (so long as we don’t take holidays at the same time).
And in what ways can job sharing be annoying?
We’ve not yet found it to be annoying. Job sharing does in part mean some extra work because you have to consider what your colleague knows and what you need to inform her of. Since we work 50% and 60% workloads, we only meet in the office every second Wednesday. We work very closely together as a team but actually see each other only rarely, which is a bit of a shame. Perhaps in the future we’ll be able to organize ourselves so that we have a day in the office together every week.
Were any restrictions imposed on you by superiors?
As we mentioned, the desk head wanted to have the role covered five days a week. Apart from that, there were no restrictions – it just had to work, meaning that there needed to be a seamless handover of work.
What’s your view of the effort required for synchronization in handing over work?
We both have gotten used to drafting a short update e-mail every evening on the days we work to ensure that we are both kept in the loop. Our shared day in the office has turned into a meeting day, where we meet with our clients and catch up with the rest of the team. The overlap day is usually pretty intense, but it is also very important.
Do job-sharing partners have to “tick” the same way or can there be differences in your styles of work?
Yes and no. We have different professional backgrounds and different competences. We both benefit from this situation because we learn from each other, and UBS also benefits from our overall broad knowledge. Two people's accumulated knowledge is far greater than that of one person on their own. Our attitudes towards work need to be very similar though, or a job share would be difficult. It’s certainly helpful that we have similar situations at home; we are both mothers to two small children.
Do you have any regrets about starting a job share?
No, none at all. If we compare our situation with that of part-time employees who cover a function or role alone with a reduced workload, we gain a lot of advantages from job sharing.
What would your desk head say if I were to ask him about job sharing?
We think Gian is satisfied with our work and the results we are delivering. Our job-sharing situation is never an issue when we speak to him. For that reason, we assume he would answer that question positively.
Question to Gian, desk head to Isabel and Bettina: What’s your view of job sharing in your team?
I actually initiated the job share in my team, so I have a positive attitude towards it. And, if I end up paying 110% for this 100% position, well, the investment is most definitely worth it, because I get back considerably more than I pay for
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