A week or so ago I spoke briefly to introduce the Job Share Network Event held in Treasury. The room was packed and that was great to see. I am a huge fan of job sharing, and I think it is one of the real competitive edges the Civil Service has over the private sector, where they are as rare as hens’ teeth.
From the perspective of the organisation, job sharing has two main benefits. First, it allows us to access a great pool of talent that might otherwise be lost to us. Second, two heads are better than one. However, as was said at the event, you do need to make sure that your job-share partner and you have similar views on how to actually do work, as well as not being too far away from each other in your basic outlook on substance. For the individual, job sharing should allow for a much healthier work/life balance, especially for those with caring responsibilities.
Job-share perm sec?
I’ve worked with two job shares, one in BIS and one in DECC. Both, interestingly, were in strategy. And both worked (and still work) brilliantly. When the manager has to put in significant extra effort to manage a job share I think you have a problem. I’ve never had that experience - quite the opposite, in fact. One tip we heard about at the session was to make full and imaginative use of IT; Microsoft OneNote is apparently a fantastic tool to use.
There weren’t that many men at the event, but there were some, and senior role models and job-share aspirants were also present. I was asked whether there could be a job-share Permanent Secretary: why not?
Job sharing isn’t always easy. The ones that operate best are the ones where you can’t see the join. And achieving that, I know, is hard work. But the benefits for all involved are significant and I am excited and proud that the Civil Service is leading the way in supporting its staff to adopt this way of working.