Business case studies

Case study: How job-sharing helps us work better and balance our lives at home

Sarah Jones and Claire Ross job-share as operations advisors for Fife Housing Group. They’ve been successfully working together for nearly six years. Here they discuss how their flexible working pattern helps them work better, and find the right balance with homelife.

Sarah’s story

Sarah Jones, 48, lives in Dunfermline with her husband, 14-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter.

She works Wednesday afternoons and Thursdays at home, and Fridays in the office in Dunfermline, taking calls from tenants and applicants about everything from housing allocations and rent payments, to repairs and neighbour issues.

She said: “Being around for my children has always been the driving force behind me working part-time but it can be really hard finding the flexibility you need as a working parent.

“Pre-pandemic I had to work in the office, and while I had part-time hours, I couldn’t use flexitime. Now, I get to work from home some days and I can use a little bit of time in the mornings to take my daughter to school. It means she doesn’t have to go to breakfast club, which she wasn’t keen on, and it saves us money too. I make up the hours later in the day, or take a shorter lunchbreak.

“I can use flexible hours for other short school events too, whereas before I had to take a half day’s annual leave. Now I can save my leave for the school holidays when I really need it.

“The mix of home and office working means I can I can bash through tasks without interruption at home. But I can also get quick answers from people in person when I’m in the office. If I’m in the middle of something, I’ll keep working until I’m in a good place to stop, rather than just downing tools at 5pm because that’s expected, so the company benefits too.

“My role was a good match before the pandemic. But the extra flexibility takes away a bit more of my ‘working mum guilt’ and it makes me better at my job. It’s been the silver lining to coronavirus.”

Claire’s story

Claire Ross, 48, who lives in Kirkcaldy, said: “I work flexibly for health and wellbeing reasons. My husband works the same days and we both enjoy the great outdoors, going for walks, bird watching and generally just being in nature. Being around in the week means we can go places when they’re quieter and really make the most of our time together.

“We don’t have children, so I don’t need part-time hours and other flexibility in the way friends and colleagues do. But I love the work life balance I have, and feel lucky I get to work the way I do.

“I think more companies could consider job shares, especially for people who can’t do their job from home. Some places dismiss job-sharing because they think it will cost more money. But Sarah and I do 2.5 days each. We both work on Wednesdays and always handover by email and phone now we’re not always in the office. We’ve been job-sharing for about six years. It works really well for us. And it works for the housing group too.”

Before the pandemic, Claire and Sarah’s roles were always office-based in Dunfermline. But home working has since been introduced and, like Sarah, Claire usually spends a day in the office and one-and-a-half days at home each week.

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