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A new, flexible way of working: Administration Team Leader, Personal and Professional Development

A new request

Our Admin Team Leader (ATL) role had previously been a full-time position, but when the post-holder was considering making a return to the workplace after maternity leave, a request was made for the position to become a job share. Having never implemented this kind of working arrangement before we had a number of questions, but felt it was important to enter into discussions with a positive approach – just because something hasn’t been done before, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be something to be explored. Ultimately, recruitment can take a long time and costs money. If it’s at all possible to retain the talent we had then we wanted to explore those options.

The approach

Our first step was to look at the job role description and see if there were tasks that would be easily separated out so that each individual had clear tasks and objectives within their day to day work. The ATL role involves the line management of other members of staff so we also had to consider how this would work with two people undertaking the role. Regular reviews of the job share were important and as a result of this, and the need to ensure smooth delivery of service, we decided to implement a shared email account with a flagging system so that each post holder knew what emails they needed to respond to.  We also developed a handover document that each person completed when they finished their shift so that when the next person came in, they were fully apprised of everything that had occurred whilst they were away.

It was important that the two post holders worked in collaboration with one another – they may have different methods and ways of working, but ultimately they had to present a united front. We made sure that they took it in turns to run the admin team meeting on a weekly basis and also that they had face to face time with the members of the team that they did not manage.

Communication is key

We made sure to consult with everyone who may have been affected by this change in working pattern so we talked to the people they would be managing and members of the wider PPD team to ensure that everyone was clear about how the job share would work. We agreed to the job share on the basis that the initial six months would be a trial and we would review it after that point. After consulting with everyone however we found that everything was working well and feedback was very positive.

We’ve never looked back

We have now had the job share role in place for three and a half years and we have two new post holders in the place of the people that originally started with us on this journey. For us its meant that we took a close look at the way we worked to ensure we were working in the most efficient way possible and for the people in the role they have the unique opportunity of having someone else in your role that you can get an opinion from, bounce ideas off and get a different perspective.

Flexible working across the University

It would be great to see more flexible working arrangements across the University but some managers may need more steer and positive examples to implement these types of arrangements. It can be difficult to try a new approach and is often easier to default back to the status quo of a 9-5 working pattern.

For us its meant that we took a close look at the way we worked to ensure we were working in the most efficient way possible.

- Sue Pandey, Head of Personal and Professional Development