Jobsharing is becoming a more and more attractive alternative working concept – why did you choose to do it?
H: We have known about jobsharing and our in-house program, PAIRfect, for a while because it was presented in our former department. It’s an attractive concept to find an interesting part-time job. I applied for the job on my own, but I knew that Claudia was also applying and was open to the possibility of jobsharing. Our supervisors at VT-D in Process Technology gave us extensive support to make the job share a reality. At the same time, our new division was open to trying the experiment.
W: That’s right. I had worked in the same position for seven years, and I wanted a change – something that’s not always easy to do with part-time work. The open position sounded interesting, and I also initially applied on my own.
The two of us had been colleagues in the same department for a long time, and we knew each other well. When I found out that Martina was interested in the same position, I immediately got the idea of doing the job in tandem. We both had to reduce our hours a bit, since we can’t exceed a combined workload of 120%. But we quickly came to an agreement.
Two people and one job must involve a lot of organization and good communication – how do you arrange it?
W: In our current position as Process Optimization engineers in the PI Smart Production department, we do not have any management responsibility, which makes organization easier. We often work on projects that we can choose depending on our availability. So most of the time we end up working relatively independently from each other. We make the necessary arrangements in our regular weekly meeting, and we coordinate as often as needed.
H: Of course there’s also the outward aspect, in other words how we communicate our areas of responsibility externally. During each ongoing project, our colleagues know who to contact. At the beginning of the project and outside it, we are both available as contact partners, and we discuss things with each other. We benefit from our similar ways of thinking and working, and we complement each other with our different areas of expertise.
W: One thing that was harder than we expected at first was communicating our working hours within the division. We each have a four-day week, but it’s divided up so one of us can be reached every day. In addition, our working hours aren’t set in stone – we are always flexible when there is an important deadline. Finding the right balance here is important.
H: Overall, the organization came together pretty quickly. We are both pursuing the same goals within our job, and we define and plan them jointly. That sets the direction. In general, I also think frequent communication is important in every position.
How are those around you responding to this concept?
W: I am getting a lot of positive feedback both inside and outside the company. Most people are very interested in the concept. How does it all work in terms of timing, and how do you organize things? I’ve never encountered any envy or ignorance. At the same time, there hasn’t been a big rush to imitate us. Still, from my perspective this concept is a good option for everyone. People with job experience and those who are just starting their careers can all benefit from jobsharing.
H: Our supervisors were very open to the job share. Our experience during the first year and a half has shown that the concept works and has its advantages – for example when it comes to vacation coverage or sick days. Our ability to share ideas about challenging issues is another benefit that no one can dispute.
W: We were given a great deal of trust and freedom right from the start – that’s very important in creating a job share. And it’s probably why it works so well for us!