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Sharing is Caring: Job sharing as a supportive way to return to work

For parents looking for a flexible way to return to work, job sharing is an option worth considering. Sara Horsfall, Founder and Director of Ginibee, a job share network, describes how job shares provide extra benefits for job sharers beyond reduced working hours.
of the (many) times in a parent’s life we find extremely
challenging, is reconnecting with our inner professional after
discovering our inner parent. In other words, returning to work.
Thinking about returning to work can
be a particularly lonely time,
when we can feel a range of conflicting emotions including guilt (for not being with our child 24/7), paranoia (that none of our parenting skills are
relevant /we have “forgotten” our professional skills /people
will think we can’t
do our job
anymore) and gratitude (when we find a role). These feelings can make it a stressful time and one
which is often
insufficiently supported. So, what if there was a proven way
to return to your career, without
leaving behind new life priorities, that benefits both you and your
One of the overarching benefits of successful job sharing we often see at Ginibee, for returners, is
the supportive nature of the job share partnership. Imagine returning to work with someone who is
faced with similar challenges in terms of creating time for other life commitments, whilst sharing similar career experience and ambition. Forming a partnership with another
enables job sharers to share the responsibility and opportunity of a full-time role without the associated time
commitment and in doing so improves confidence (since women often find
it easier to recognise the strengths in others than in ourselves), as well as creating the mental and physical space to attend
to their life. By
being aware of and respecting each other’s motivations
and strengths, job sharers live a very fulfilled
life both in terms of their career and life outside of work.
Benefits of 
Job Sharing 
what does being in a supportive job share mean to us?
  • Reduces Stress

Although progressive
employers understand that mentoring support is a key requirement to retain and
develop parents as they return to work, it can still be rare. The
great thing about job sharing is that successful partnerships self-mentor as part of setting up and
maintaining the jobshare. Ruth, who switched from part-time work to job sharing in order to progress to a more
senior level as Director of Strategy, said “I feel less stressed as a job sharer,
because there’s a proper release valve. In other roles you might vent to your
partner or husband at the end of the day, but they’re not in it, so with my job
share partner we can really vent to each other and share the challenges, which
means it’s not all in your head, and I find that to be really valuable.”

  • Increases Confidence
Another job sharer, Polly, says “job sharing is really supportive, which
means you can take braver decisions faster, because with the best will in the
world, your boss, your mentor etc. isn’t going to be quite as interested and
involved as your job share partner. In particular, on
management decisions where you might be worried about being too subjective
about a matter, when you have both picked up on it you can give clearer,
stronger, more objective messages.”
  • Improves
you know your days off really are
days off, you have more energy to fully apply
yourself on your working days. Employers of job share partnerships report that the inherent accountability of job share partnerships means they are easier to manage
as they have another to share ideas and challenges with. Polly says “Being
accountable to your job share partner keeps you focused and
only need to look to organisations like the Civil Service, Barclays, Transport for London that have launched jobshare schemes for their employees to
see that this is now receiving a higher profile as part of creating and retaining diverse workforces.
you would like to progress your career with a job share partner, you can find more
information and
support, including Ginibee’s jobshare platform at Ginibee are currently recruiting for a Jobshare Consultant to work as a 2.5 day job share with Sara, in Cambridge. For more information and to apply see 
here. Apply by May 9.
Posted by Katerina