Two heads can be better than one: Practical learnings from a successful job-share

Ms Catherine White1, Ms  Meg Marmo1

1St.Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Within the broader, non-health care environment examples of workplace flexibility have steadily increased over several decades. Flexible workplace arrangements such as working from home, flexi-time and job-share have become more prevalent, yet within the health care setting such arrangements have traditionally been considered difficult to operationalise without negatively impacting service delivery.  During COVID, however, health care settings were required to rapidly embrace flexible workplace arrangements. With expectations of workplace flexibility changing, Allied Health professionals will benefit from these practical learnings from a successful, long-term job-share arrangement.

Key components of the job-share structure are important for success. These include a sharing of tasks and responsibilities, rather than splitting a full-time role into separate parts; an expectation that either person can undertake and complete any component of the role independent of their job-share colleague; structured time for regular collaboration/cross-over; efficient, effective communication between job-share colleagues and clear, streamlined external communication is essential.

Key components of the job-share relationship also impact success. A strong trust between colleagues must exist in order to facilitate independent decision making; shared values and similar perspectives on critical issues support efficient decision making; and detailed knowledge of each other’s strengths enhances both efficiency and performance.

The benefits to both the individuals and the wider health-care organisation are considerable when highly skilled staff can be retained in a flexible arrangement such as job-share.  Allied Health managers or employees considering a job-share role should be encouraged by this positive case study.


Biography:

Catherine White, Physiotherapist and Meg Marmo, Occupational Therapist have worked in a job-share arrangement for 6 years – moving from their initial Team Leader role to current managerial position via successful joint application and recruitment process 3 years ago.

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