Job sharing is one way to get work hours flexibility, especially if you need it because of child care or elderly parent responsibilities. My mom did job sharing when I was young. She worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning, and her co-worker worked Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday. Both loved the arrangement and through careful planning, this went on for 15+ years.
Sharing a job with another person requires flexibility and good communication skills to keep the work flowing even on the days when you are not at work. This goes beyond good face-to-face communication skills as you have to be able to communicate with the other worker when you are not working at the same time. Email is one type of communication that helps in a job share situation. Being flexible and able to accept phone calls on non-work time is also helpful.
Good documentation skills are critical to job sharing. This ensures that the work gets done properly with no mistakes even when you are not there yourself. One example of documentation skills is medical charting for doctors and nurses. The next doctor or nurse should be able to tell what treatment a patient has received and what he will need next. My mom and her co-worker had ‘in’ and ‘out’ boxes so they knew what the other was working on. They also had lots of sticky notes (this was all that was available 30 years ago!).
Neatness counts. If you share supplies or equipment, they need to be checked on a regular basis to ensure that you do not run out of anything critical or misplace a needed piece of equipment. Return all equipment to its storage place. Also check for breakage and let the other job sharer know if something is broken so that this person does not try to use it until it is fixed.
Job sharing adds critical thinking and planning skill sets to your resume. It also adds documentation skills and communication skills. All of these skills are a bonus, so make sure you indicate on your resume under Work Experience that a position you held was a job share. You can list the position then put in parentheses: (job share, 30 hours per week).

What Is Flex Time and Should You Ask For It?

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The world is moving faster than ever. In fact, it often seems like everything about our lives is changing – sometimes on a daily basis. From online shopping to cellular phones that access the internet, technology has often driven the changes we see. Our work place is no different. Once it was expected that a 9 – 5 job was just that. Today employers have the ability to offer their staff a variety of work methods. Telecommuting is particularly popular. Less well known is the idea of flex time. While not as many employers offer flex time, those that do believe it allows their work staff to be more productive. Learning about work options should be an important part of every candidate’s research and decisions making process when looking for and interviewing for a new position.
I love the idea of flex time. When I was around 10, my mom went back to work. She was offered flex time. It went like this: she worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning, and Pat worked Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday. It was perfect. They both worked hard those 2 1/2 days to make sure their work was done. Their bosses never once complained, in fact the opposite. You couldn’t find harder workers. It gave both women time with their children and families while earning a little extra income. Awesome. Why don’t more employers offer it? I decided to do a little more research on it to find out.

The idea of flex time isn’t that new. Employees are offered the ability to create a schedule that works for their particular needs. The employer typically publishes a set of guidelines and then works directly with an employee to pick a flexible schedule that will allow the necessary work to take place in a timely manner while still allow the employee to be flexible. This concept has worked particularly well for working mothers or employees with unique family obligations. For example, an employee with a school age child may wish to adjust their hours in order to be home when their child arrives back from school. They may request a flexible schedule of 6 am – 2 pm. The employee will still work a full 40 hour week but will have the ability to address the needs of their child.
Typically both the employer and the employee see flex time as beneficial. Employers tend to see a higher rate of productivity in their employees; after all happy employees are productive employees. Additionally, the absentee rate typically drops as employees schedule allows them to focus their work time on work and their off hour time on other pursuits, such as family. They also note that the ability to work during off peak hours often gives them quiet time that can be used to focus on larger projects without the worry of customers or coworkers bothering them.
Deciding to ask for flex time is very much a personal decision. Anybody considering the move should first determine if their company is even open to the idea. Try approaching your manager about your particular needs–it might be the next step in creating a flexible schedule. Whenever possible this discussion should take place during the hiring process to prevent conflicts.
Flex time can be an excellent tool to keep employees happy, healthy and productive. It can also help manage that all too often forgotten balance between home and work life. If you are interested in the idea of flexible scheduling, don’t be afraid to ask. A clearly presented explanation of your request and the ability to work within the guidelines of your company often go a long way.