The Power of Two: The Pros and Cons of Job Sharing

Two smiling women working together in a glass office

Job sharing, as the name not so elusively suggests, allows you to work under a flexible working schedule by sharing a full-time position with another person. Over the years, this unconventional strategy has become increasingly popular among those who want to have a more flexible working schedule that accommodates their personal needs.

If you’re uncertain whether job sharing is ideal for you, here are some pros and cons for your consideration.

The Pros

1. It Increases Your Productivity

A significant advantage that comes with sharing a job with someone is the higher productivity levels. When you have more time to yourself, then chances are that you’ll have more control over your personal and professional life. This not only makes you more productive, but it also boosts morale and increases motivation. As a result, you’ll be more focused on your work tasks, and you’ll avoid getting distracted by personal matters.

Moreover, because your tasks will be divided with the other job-sharer, the workload will be distributed equally. Consequently, you will be less stressed at work, and this will once again lead to – that’s right! – increased productivity!

2. You’ll Have a Better Work-Life Balance

One of the biggest perks of job sharing is having the ideal work-life balance many of us dream about. Having a flexible working schedule allows you to pursue other interests, hobbies and sports, and to have more time for family and friends. Another benefit is that you will have less miscellaneous absences as you will be able to manage life responsibilities without them disrupting your work.

Being able to maintain an active and healthy personal life will decrease stress levels and make you a happier employee. It’s not surprising, then, that having high job satisfaction will also help you do better in your role.

3. You Can Focus on Your Area of Expertise

When you’re paired up with someone, so too are your skillsets. Job sharing is a brilliant way for you to excel in areas that you’re good in, while the other person covers other duties. Therefore, there’s an opportunity to divide tasks according to individual skills and interests and leverage each person’s strengths.

Another beneficial factor is that you will have the opportunity to learn new skills from your partner and develop in other areas. While each of you will share duties and tasks, you could learn a thing or two from each other and expand your knowledge in the field.

Having two people within the same role means there’s more diversity in ideas, perspectives and abilities. It also means that there are two sets of enthusiasm and creativity, which can lead to enhanced problem-solving.

4. You’ll Have Someone to Cover for You

Even with a job share, you will occasionally need to take time off. Lucky for you, job sharing means that there’s always someone to cover for you whenever you need them to. If you’re on sick leave or paid time off, your partner will get the job done and ensure nothing critical is missed during your absence.

This also means that you don’t have to worry about your workload piling up. Your partner will ensure that major tasks aren’t overlooked while you’re away.

The Cons

1. You’ll Earn Less Income and Benefits

One of the biggest setbacks of a job share is that you’ll be earning less than you would in a full-time role.

Many people who opt to share jobs are usually only available to work part time due to other commitments and are happy to have some monthly income. If you need a full-time salary to stay on top of your finances, a job-sharing role may not be the best choice.

Additionally, as a job-sharer, you might not be eligible for the same benefits as other full-time employees. It could also be the case that you aren’t entitled to any benefits at all. Either way, this will depend on your company and the format of the job share position.

2. You Could Be Incompatible with Your Partner

For a job share to work, there needs to be effective communication on both ends. However, if your work habits and work style are incompatible with your peer, this could lead to organisational chaos. Indeed, two different approaches will cause a lot of confusion and will deter your collaboration with the other person.

Incompatibility can then lead to information getting lost, misinformation and poor communication. Depending on the functions of the role, it could also hinder its performance and affect any counterparts associated with it.

It’s essential, then, that you are paired with someone that you see eye to eye and that you can collaborate with. This will be vital for you to do your part effectively.

3. Your Abilities Might Not Match

A possible issue that could arise from job sharing is an ability mismatch. Being able to collaborate with the other person is only a part of the job share musts. You could argue that having a reliable partner that will get their part of the job done is more important than identical working styles.

Indeed, incompetence on your partner’s part could result in an unfair workload for you and ineffective task management. Not only that, but it could also hinder your work performance and your progression within your role and the company.

So, if you end up doing all the work because your partner isn’t picking up the slack, your job share could feel a lot more like a curse than a blessing.

4. It Can Get Competitive

Competition in the workplace is fairly common. However, when you’re sharing a position and its responsibilities with another person, competitiveness could create a toxic environment.

Naturally, there will be occasional tension between you and your job share partner. But if this develops into a situation where one of you is trying to prove they’re better than the other, this could have detrimental effects.

Not only would it cause a communication breakdown, but it could also distort the collaborative spirit between the two parties. If one of you feels that their partner is trying to diminish their efforts in unhealthy competition, then your job share could become less than ideal.

5. Your Partner Could Change

One of the riskiest aspects of job sharing is the possibility of one of the two partners leaving the position. Not only will a new person have to be recruited, hired and trained, but you will also have to lift more weight until your new partner is found.

Finding someone who is equally compatible with you and who can maintain the same schedule as the previous person is perhaps the biggest challenge. It often means that some compromises will have to be made on both parts.

The silver lining is that you will be able to train your new coworker and tailor a better working format from before.

Although there are both pros and cons that need to be considered, job sharing is a flexible option that goes beyond conventional working patterns. If anything, it defeats the age-old dilemma of choosing career over personal life, and it proves that we can actually have both.

Have you ever been in a job share role before? What were the pros and cons for you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!