Job sharing - new work time model

29/09/2020 Career Advice

Job sharing as part-time work model of the future?

Flexible working hours are at the top of the employees' wish list because this allows them to better combine work and spare time. A forty-hour week with core working hours offers only limited flexibility. Employees who have to or want to reduce their working hours for a variety of reasons are often left with only the option of part-time work, which usually also entails financial losses. Besides, this can also lead to tensions with the employer, who is obliged to allow part-time work, but may still have a higher workload and thus need more working time. However, this does not necessarily have to be the case if both employee and employer are willing to establish an innovative working time model. In this context, job sharing is being used more and more often.

Companies such as SAP, Daimler, and Bosch are demonstrating job sharing even at the management level. What is job sharing? In short, it is classically the division of a full-time job between two (or more) employees (job-sharer or tandem partner). The employees fill the position together and not each of them a separate area. Time management is very flexible and the division of the position does not have to be half/half. Depending on the wishes of the tandem partners, almost any combination is possible, from 60/40, 70/30 to 80/20.

Job sharing offers benefits for more than just employees

In principle, job sharing offers employees the possibility of part-time work and flexible working hours. This leaves each sharer more time for private life and contributes to better management of work and family. But there is more to it than that! This working time model is suitable for different hierarchical levels and highly qualified jobs. While part-time work often puts many employees off, as they fear that they will be able to supervise less exciting projects due to less working time, this worry does not apply to job sharing with a tandem partner. Since the job is carried out and managed jointly, there is always the possibility to exchange ideas, get advice, learn from the partner, and positively influence the partner's learning process. Often this also increases the motivation of the employees. Ultimately, this leads to greater job satisfaction.

However, job sharing is not a bad alternative for companies either. After all, motivated, happy employees also do better work, which essentially determines the success of the company. Last but not least, the offer can also improve the employer image.
Another positive aspect is that absence due to illness or vacation, for example, is almost zero with job sharing, since it can be assumed that one of the two partners is present and can compensate for the hours. A job that is shared by two people also has the advantage that the company has double expertise at its disposal. The "jack in all trades" comes within reach, as the skills of the employees complement each other harmoniously. Different perspectives can also lead to better decisions.
The company's size plays a rather subordinate role in job sharing because of this concept benefits above all functional areas whose tasks are complex. Examples include project management, marketing, and sales, but also the IT sector.

In practice, job sharing is often used as a generic term for various models. Job sharing between two employees is the classical pure form. However, there are other forms of job sharing, such as job pairing. In this case, however, the employment contract of the tandem partners is concluded jointly and cannot be terminated by one party alone. The termination must be submitted by both employees.

Jan shared himself to a certain extent.
"For me, working now feels like it did before our spin-off!”
"For me, working now feels like it did before our spin-off!”
©DW Deutsch
©DW Deutsch

Job Sharing at ARTS

The New Work megatrend in particular is constantly leading to new working time models, as the 4-day week also shows. These are characterized above all by an increased proportion of flexibility. The most diverse wishes, requirements, or general conditions can be adapted to the respective company or employee situation. 

ARTS also established an individual job-sharing form. However, no two people share one job, but our IT supporter Jan shared himself to a certain extent. As Senior IT Support Consultant he is responsible for the support and further development of our IT infrastructure. Already in 2011 Jan became part of the ARTS family and remained our contact person even after the spin-off of our IT department to the independent IT start-up manaTec, with the focus on ERP, Business Intelligence, and IT support. He has designed and set up a large part of our systems himself, so he knows the processes and procedures better than anyone else. 

What does "Jan sharing" look like in detail? Three days a week he is with us at our headquarters in Dresden. It's not too far-fetched to say that he's the most popular employee besides the coffee machine, because he gets everything in order again when something doesn't work. His area of responsibility includes first-level support and second-level support. On the other two days, Jan is at manaTec and takes care of their internal affairs. Before Jan split his time between ARTS and manaTec, the support was much more complex for everyone involved. For each request, it was necessary to write a ticket. A flexible problem solution was not possible this way. The job sharing made this much easier. Jan is now available to all colleagues in three days. He can take care of all issues that arise, even those with lower priority. At the same time, he can act independently of the budget. But this also increases personal responsibility, because Jan can manage his own time and keep to his working hours.

The solution arose from the needs of us as ARTS, as well as manaTec. Both sides wanted to simplify the process, but a full-time position was not conceivable. The option to work part-time for two different employers has the disadvantage in German tax law that one of the two jobs is automatically taxed with income tax class 6. The colleague, therefore, has to pay taxes between 50-60%, which was neither an attractive nor reasonable alternative for us. To solve this problem and to be able to use Jan in both companies, a new solution had to be created. Now we share the costs in a two to three ratio.

While the model may sound tempting, it is not suitable for everyone. Classic job sharers need a high degree of trust, excellent communication skills, organizational talent, and a large portion of self-reflection. For Jan, too, the new model means above all more self-management to structure his resources in the best possible way. Many companies see job sharing primarily as a way of reducing labor costs, although the advantages are obvious. We stand behind the basic idea and also see the advantages described above in practice. 

In this process, which we are still going through today, we have developed the best solution for us at the moment. But we also know that there is no one-fits-all strategy. Every company is, in our opinion, unique. It requires individual consideration of processes and structures to create real added value in the working world of the future. Similar to job sharing, double competence is the key factor for success. ARTS supports you and your organization during the transformation - from analysis to sustainable anchoring.

Sources: karrierebibel.de | tendemply.com | zeit.de | handelsblatt.com | lohn-info.de | wiwo.de | karrieremarshal.de

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