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Job share tips: Better communication

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The key to successful job sharing is good and clear communication, both with one another and with all colleagues and stakeholders. Communication with others will be the most visible part of your job sharing partnership. It is important that everyone feels that communicating with one partner is the same as communicating to both.

Ideas for maintaining good communication

  • use a shared inbox
  • copy one another into emails and ask colleagues to copy both partners in to all communications
  • create a system to flag emails for each other to read, so you’re both not reading all emails
  • ensure that you don’t overwhelm your colleagues with the same information, or slightly different replies to emails - be clear who’s doing what, and who’s going to reply to which incoming emails
  • include partner’s contact details on out-of-office replies and use a joint email signature, or sign emails from both partners
  • some job sharers put up all their work (e.g. submissions) in both names no matter who wrote it, to make clear their shared responsibility for the work
  • have a regular and systematic time or system for handover e.g. leave an executive summary of the day on each other’s voice mail at the end of the day. Follow-up with a phone call for questions and discussion if necessary and don’t, if possible, just leave it to email exchanges. Written communication can be confusing and it is best to talk through the issues and any surrounding issues. Don’t leave anything unspoken, it has to be very explicit
  • use a system of shared folders on your IT system
  • going jointly to some external meetings with stakeholders – particularly at the start of a project – can help to fix the idea of you both as a job share in other people’s minds
  • allocate time to regularly review the effectiveness of the partnership
  • tackle any issues that arise as quickly as possible to avoid problems escalating, don’t wait for others to manage it for you
  • be supportive of one other, never disagree in front of others and be unified when communicating with others
  • talk to experienced job sharers to help you navigate some of the tedious but important aspects of making the job share work
  • you must ensure you are completely clear – with each other, and with your colleagues – about what’s shared and what’s split. What things can colleagues come to either of you about? What things will they need to wait until your job share partner is able to give their view? Making this clear to everyone, and choosing the right elements in your job to split/share, will make the balance work well for everyone
  • you also should communicate with your job share partner about any major changes, such as possible maternity leave, applying for a promotion, a wish to return to full time hours or potential relocation due to personal reasons. You will want your job sharing partner to be aware of the changes which will inevitably impact them

Learning opportunities

There are a number of Civil Service Learning products that will help you develop your communication skills, including effective communication skills.

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