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Innovative platform DuoMe aims to make job share easier and more dads are signing up
The vast majority of working dads say they want to continue flexible working into 2021. Many were forced to work from home when the pandemic struck. And so working from home is likely to remain a popular option.
But there’s a world of flexible working options out there. DuoMe is a site looking to make job share a more straightforward option for working dads.
Aviva’s famous job sharing executives, Sam White and Will McDonald, have shown it’s a flexible working model for men as well as women. Yet take up remains low.
That’s changing according to DuoMe founder Graham Joyce. He said, “We had some of our biggest months in July, August, September as more people signed up to the platform. And we’ve definitely seen more men coming to the platform.
“There’s been a huge increase this year in the number of men who think their job can be done flexibly. Men aren’t embarrassed to say they work flexibly any more. And they think it’s OK to say that actually they want to spend more time with their kids.
“We’ve not done anything differently, targeted any particular area but more men are signing up on DuoMe. We’ve massive optimism going into 2021.”
DuoMe is a site where folk can register their interest in joining a job share. They specify what sort of role they are looking for and how many days a week they’d want to work. Then they can search the site for a match. Or if they spot a job on the site that suits them they can see who else is interested and team up. Employers can use it to find a potential job share partner should they wish to hire a candidate on a job share basis.
Graham and business partner Eric Evans had the idea for the site when Eric’s wife struggled to find a flexible position after starting a family. The difference for her came when she found an enlightened employer that put her together with another candidate to form a job share. Graham and Eric spotted a gap in the market for something that could not just raise the profile of job share as an option but simplify the process as far as possible. There’s around 2000 people on the site now to choose from.
Key to normalising job share is making it easy. Graham’s aware that under pressure middle managers can make a big difference. It’s often easier for a line manager simply to say no to job share rather than put in the effort to set it up and make it work. That’s understandable when workloads are already stretched and might get more so in turbulent economic times. “We want to take the ‘no’ away from those managers,” explains Graham, “to make it easier for everyone.”
Men already face cultural barriers to working flexibly and job share is particularly rare for working dads. A line manager who can’t be bothered to entertain the idea can be enough to put a dad off taking the idea further.
Graham knows the barriers men face when it comes to flexible working. “Many moons ago my wife suggested I go down to four days a week. I daren’t even ask my then employer about then because I know I would’ve got a kick up the backside for asking.”
Now Graham works for himself running DuoMe. And that allows him to mix up work with being dad to his son and daughter. He added, “This job pays the worst of any job I’ve ever had, but it’s also the best. I take my kids to school and what that’s done for our relationship is worth more than all the money in the world.
“Eric and I are both different people since doing this. We’re happier and healthier. I’ve been grumpy dad in my time. Now my wife says she enjoys just seeing how much happier me and the kids are around each other.”
Graham shared DuoMe’s top tips for making job share work.
Sharing a job is an investment in your career, so it’s essential you trust each other and work well together naturally. Each member of the job share team should benefit equally from working with the other. Try to choose someone who shares your values, compliments your experience with their skills, and aligns well with what you hope to achieve in your role.
Before starting your job share role, create a single page set of procedures and stick to it. Following a predetermined course of action avoids having to contact your job share partner on days off, eliminates confusion, diffuses conflict, and creates easy handovers.
Have a structured to-do list with a clear outline of who should do which tasks. Try to keep your desk clear of residual tasks and communicate clearly with each other.
Many job share teams find it helpful to have an overlap each week to discuss handover topics. This builds trust, strengthens the sense of unity, and discourages either partner from deviating away from the usual way of working.
Job share partners perform best when they behave as a single employee, with shared visible communication. Internal communication, meeting memos, and correspondence with clients should always be transparent and accessible to both partners. Shared communication enables either partner to take charge and be fully informed when they are in the role during their working days.
Make sure your peers (team, and wider stakeholders) know how you work and how they can best work with you. It’s important they know how to contact you and the office hours for each person in the Job Share. This will avoid being contacted when you are not the primary person in the role and away from the office.
Some job share partners benefit from explaining to their clients how their schedule works, so that clients know who is available on which days. Other partnerships prefer to act as one without sharing the details with clients. Decide on what’s right for your partnership, and your job, then stick to it.
A job share team is a partnership working towards the same goals, with both members benefitting equally from the arrangement. Try to avoid competing with your job share partner, instead find ways to collaborate and boost each other. If one partner is successful, the other partner will also be successful, so it’s in your best interest to help each other as much as possible. The key is to provide each other with continuous feedback. Not only will this reduce competition, but it will also support more open communication and continuous improvement.
Trust and loyalty are essential in strong job share partnerships. If you undermine your partner, you will each feel the impact equally, and your combined performance will be negatively affected. Before starting, it’s important to outline how you will handle conflict and disagreements within your shared role should any issues arise. Any criticism should always be resolved privately, or potentially with the help of your manager, but never aired in public. Successful job share teams are confident in their partner and generally talk about them with praise in public.
Your job share journey is a collective experience. Mishaps can happen in any role, and there will be some mistakes made. Take the blame together, with shared responsibility. Praise, promotion, and achievements will also happen, so celebrate them together, both members will benefit.