Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Job sharing successfully

Job sharing is a fantastic flexible work arrangement for a role that cannot be done part time, or requires someone to be in the office providing face-to-face contact 5 days per week. For employers, it can mean retaining 2 valuable workers in a part time capacity.

Unfortunately, everyone always seems to have a bad job sharing story to share. Most of the time, when we have dissected why it did not work well, it comes back to how the job sharing arrangement was managed (or not managed) in the first place.

Here are some guidelines to creating successful job share roles:
- Make sure the job share partners are at a similar life stage e.g. parents with young children.
- Ensure each candidate has similar skills and experience so there are no issues with one taking on more work than the other.
- Both people should share a similar work ethic, have good communication skills and be clear on workloads and outcomes.
- Make sure there is a cross over period during the week so there is an opportunity to de-brief each other.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate with each other and your manager.

Use these guidelines in your business case proposal to negotiate a job share role.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Your first 12 months back at work

Let's face it, it's tough! We are instantly thrown into the work and family juggling act often without help and support. There is separation anxiety (more from mum!), mother guilt (isn't it relentless!), and then general guilt for not being at work because your child is permanently sick for the first 2-3 months of child care. And generally, there is even more guilt handed to you from your employer because you need to take time off to care for your child.

Take a deep breath - it will be ok. You cannot do this on your own so enlist the services of your partner to share parental responsibilities. Put a schedule on your fridge door. Conquer and divide chores such as food shopping, cooking, drop-off, pick-up, cleaning and washing.

Your child will pick up illnesses from child care but it won't last forever. What they catch now will make their immune systems stronger.

It is our view that employers are currently not providing enough support for working parents in their first 12 months back at work. Employers tend to breathe a sigh of relief on your return to work - it is assumed that everything will pick up from where it was left off. It will, but there is an adjustment period.

What can employers do to provide support? They can put into place a gradual return to work strategy (e.g. start with 2 days, then move to 3 days, then 4 days for example), and allow for more sick days in the early stages of child care. These are short term supportive measures that will pay long term dividends in the way of a happy, productive and loyal employee.

Talk to your employer about your return to work strategy. Open up the lines of communication and see what flows.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Get smarter in how you return to work

Recently, I have come across many women who have returned to their employer after parental leave as a consultant. Obviously, not everyone can do this and it does depend on the role you currently perform.

One example is a women who was in a senior HR role prior to having children. She wanted to return to work but required flexibility. She did not want to be relegated to a junior HR role within the team she used to run. So instead she re-created herself as a training consultant and offers her services to the same employer on a regular basis.

If you are in a position to request this change in your employment conditions, the benefits are enormous. Think about the following:

- Consultants are often given project based work with deadlines. This allows you to create your own flexibility/hours and still be challenged in the work you are performing.

- The business knows you and understands your capabilities. They would be more interesting in hiring back someone they know who understands the business and will get the job done.

- You can charge on a per hour basis and potentially get paid more. Factor in superannuation, sick leave, holidays etc.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

CareerMums Webinars

Finally, we have decided to create some discussion forums. Join us to talk about everything to do with work and parenthood.

CareerMums understands the challenges you face as a working parent. We are dedicated to helping mums return to the workforce with confidence. How do you start building that confidence? With the best information.

Our discussion forums are limited to 15 people. We run our forums at night after the kids go to bed. The forums are free - all you need to do is dial in.

For more information: