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Rob's transition to part-time

Rob is a senior technical officer (in the engineering industry) in his 60's who recently moved to part-time hours in a job share arrangement to have more time for golf, caring for his grandson and enjoying life. He shares his story of successfully negotiating his job share position.

“It was effective and enjoyable for both parties (job sharers) if they knew or at least understood each other's strengths and weaknesses.”

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

I recently turned 64, have pretty much worked full time throughout my working career. Although I enjoyed my job and found it fulfilling, I had been considering moving towards a part time role - if a suitable role came along. I was not looking to change my employer.

I had been in the previous role for 4 years. It was strategic and important to the organisation and a number of key stakeholders. A friend (in another part of the organisation) was aware of my interest in reduced hours and mentioned my name to his manager who was looking for someone to share a job with a person who worked 0.4 FTE. After some consideration and negotiation I accepted an offer and have recently commenced the new role which will be a job share.

What flexible work arrangements (part-time hours, job share, flexible hours, working remotely, compressed hours) have you experienced and how have these worked for you?

I have not previously worked part-time but the job share position was appealing and looked quite suitable. I know the other person with whom I will share, I have also previously worked with the manager and I know a number of employees within the team.

I received advice that the standard working days would be Wed - Fri. It was mentioned that there may be some flexibility around these days. Initially I will be working a Tuesday to 'learn the job'. After a few weeks of me working on the Tuesday as an overlap day both of us considered working the same day was beneficial for ourselves and the organisation. Management could also see the benefits. After a brief conversation, I changed my working days to Tuesday to Thursday. This has been an unanticipated benefit for me – with similar advantages for my working partner and my employer.

What advice would you give a person negotiating part-time hours and/or a job share arrangement?

I received advice that successful job share was not just a matter of working less hours. It was effective and enjoyable for both parties if they knew or at least understood each other's strengths and weaknesses. I believe this was valuable information and a good basis for any discussion for a job share.

What advice would you give to a person applying for a position to be job shared?

In no particular order:

• Have a good discussion with the other party (about the role and also themselves)

• Have a good understanding of the duties and requirements of the position

• Speak to the new manager to try to get a feel for his/ her view of the position and the person presently in the role

• Look beyond only the hours to be worked, i.e. the attitude of the occupant towards you as a 'partner', other people in the group, is this job a good fit for me etc.

Getting clear on what you want in flexible working and job share is really important to help find the right role for you and in conversations with HR, managers, your job share partner. I found a few coaching sessions with Ness at Job Pair to be incredibly helpful with this.

What belief, behaviour or approach has been most helpful to you in negotiating part-time work? How?

I think going into it with an open mind. Am I suited to this role? Working out if you can work not only with the employee but also the manager.

What have you become better at saying no to (invitations, meetings, time wasters)? What new work habits helped? Any other tips?

I don't consider my approach to the new role will be any different to my previous job. I am always prepared to perform my duties and to assist where a request is related and reasonable.

Is there anything you have learnt or adjusted in job sharing already?

In settling in and understanding each other’s strengths we are both more accepting of what the other party offers and are prepared to share each other’s projects resulting in enhancement of the work flow and resulting in benefits to each party and the organisation.

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