Job sharing in the Department of Energy and Climate Change

Emma Cole and James Burt work in the Office for Renewable Energy Deployment (ORED) in the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Emma works three and a half days a week, compressed into three days, and James works three days a week equivalent, compressed into two and a half days, including half a day a week working from home. They overlap in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays and neither of them usually works on Wednesdays (though Emma sometimes swaps her days if there is something important on).

Emma joined DECC, having previously worked in the Home Office and Cabinet Office, on return from maternity leave in 2009:

"I had applied on promotion for a full-time Grade 7 post in DECC but on a part-time basis; I was successful and the recruiting manager then recruited a job share partner for me. My first job share partner, Alex, started some months after I did. When she decided to take a career break following maternity leave, I started job sharing with James, who was recruited in the usual way. He was already working part time but was looking to change roles within DECC.

"We job shared successfully for about 14 months and the key we found to making it work was to make clear to others, inside and outside the department, which work areas we shared responsibility for and which we had decided that only one of us would cover. Our working pattern, particularly overlapping in the office on two days a week, meant our handover could be more informal. It also allowed us to meet external stakeholders together and to both attend team meetings.

A recent restructuring exercise in ORED means we're now working on different projects within a project team. Although our current projects don't need a job-sharing arrangement, future ones might and job-sharing again in the future is something that we would both do happily; both of us find it more satisfying and more productive than simply working part-time. More importantly, job-sharing enabled us to balance family responsibilities with a challenging and interesting job in a high-profile policy area."