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Job sharing is a type of work arrangement in which more than one person works in a position meant for one employee. Having a job partner to share work and alternate schedules with isn't something that can be decided and arranged by workers themselves, but rather must be approved by the employer. Like other types of flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting and shorter summer hours, job sharing is a non-traditional work choice that continues to grow in popularity. In many cases, two employees in a shared job alternate the work week, such as each person working two days and then alternating the fifth day, but there are many different scheduling possibilities for shared work arrangements.
Some shared jobs involve the workers alternating entire weeks or even months. The type of work schedule used in job sharing depends on the needs of the employer as well as the employees. It's important to realize that having a job partner affects many employees and not only the ones directly involved in job sharing. Unless the job partners work in a cohesive way, it can be difficult for other employees to coordinate their efforts as part of a company team. To help avoid communication problems, individuals sharing the same job may find tools such as a log book system helpful.
Partners in a job sharing position can write important details either by hand in a notebook or in a computer file to create the log. This way, the other worker can be kept aware of what happened at work when he or she wasn't on the job. Both communication and organization in a shared job is essential and job partners must be committed to making the arrangement workable for everyone in the company. Many job sharers communicate daily at shift changes and have each other's contact information for regular as well as emergency communication. They must usually cover each other in emergencies as well as for vacations and other agreed upon hours.
As long as the two or more employees sharing a job are strong, knowledgeable workers committed to making the job sharing arrangement work, the employer usually benefits. Hiring temporary workers without a relationship with the company can usually be avoided in shared job arrangements. Employees in flexible work arrangements tend to appreciate being able to work on a schedule that fits their lives and are often top performers who exhibit loyalty to the company. Workers interested in job sharing may be older workers wanting to work part-time before retirement or they may be parents who need to balance employment with family life.
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