How Do You Share a Job?

This post was originally published in 2012. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

Nowadays, you can share a lot of things. Music and pictures can easily be shared over the Internet, as well as bikes, cars and chainsaws in real life. If a colleague wants to work fewer hours, one can even share a job. This type of sharing is called ’job splitting’. How this works, exactly, is what I wanted to find out when I sat down with Ruzica Babic over coffee.

Ruzica came to SMA many years ago. She started out in the Production department as an optical inspector, working in the three-shift system. She worked full-time while taking care of her 3 kids at home. Due to the fact that her husband also had a full-time job, however, her daily routine soon became too stressful. She told me: “My family and health are very important to me, but I didn’t want to give up my job either”. So, Ruzica decided to speak to her senior manager and tell him that she wanted to cut back to working part-time.

Flexible Working Hours in Part-Time

This was no problem for her senior manager, Volker Becker. “As an executive, if I want to take the needs of my staff into consideration, I can always find a way to do it.” Ruzica was quickly able to transition to the two-shift system and cut her working hours in half. Volker was even able to find another colleague who was interested in working part-time, and thus brought the ’job splitting’ duo together. Thanks to the reduced position, Ruzica was able to dedicate more time to her kids. During the weeks in which Ruzica has the early shift, she is home before her youngest child finishes school for the day. When she has the late shift, her husband is home and can take care of the little ones.

Passed the Practical Test

At least, that’s what people think. Enough with the theory, I wanted to know if flexible part-time actually works in reality. Ruzica reported, “Absolutely! It works great with my colleague.” Before each shift, the two get together and discuss what has been done and anything which still needs to be finished. Ruzica explained, “Of course, I can stay an hour longer if there is a lot going on. I’m just much more relaxed working part-time.” Ruzica’s job splitting partner just took maternity leave, by the way, but wants to return to work as soon as possible. They both already know how well part-time works, after all. 😉

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