www.mediaparents.co.uk held a flexible working meeting in May attended by some of the employers and freelancers in media who support flexible working – a list of them can be found on this blog. Herefollows part 5 of a series of articles summarising comment from that evening. Media Parents will be announcing another flexible working meeting very soon.
Justine Randle and Rachel Peters were job sharing Production Managers on The Bill at talkbackTHAMES
Rachel: “I believe it really is about getting the relationship right, and working in similar ways.”
They went to their bosses proposing 3 days a week each, but were offered 2 and a half. They do have a handover, and sometimes long phone calls too. They agreed with Laura and Jessica the joint Directors of Production at Hat Trick that they didn’t want anyone to have to repeat themselves, and have had generally had good feedback. Some people on the team were sceptical at first, and took a while to realise the job share worked.
Tim Key, Series Producer on The Bill at talkbackTHAMES
When pitched the job share by Justine and Rachel, he was happy about it, as he had worked with both, and happy to give it a go. It has worked really well.
Q: Does job sharing work, because PM’ing is a job for an organiser, could it work for more creative roles, like SP?
General discussion about PM’s abilities, and that it wouldn’t perhaps work for SPs. The Gadget Show divides the Series Producer roles into two and has one “creative” series producer, and one “logistics” series producer working in tandem.
Justine - Now I am applying for jobs, should I mention the job share?
Helen – Outline Productions. Yes, you should be applying as a package together. If it has worked well for 18 months, that is proof to a future employer.
Audience member: How important is it that people know you? Will that help people accept you as a jobshare?
Karl – If it comes to you as a package, it’s worth having.
Suzie Marsh – freelancer and flexible worker
Suzie told of an example of going to a new employer, where she hadn’t known anyone, but had been allowed to work flexibly, as she had asked directly at interview.
“Ask if it has to be a 5 day a week job, and ask when the deadline for the project is and request to work flexibly until completion.” The employer allowed her to do it, and it worked well. “If you ask, you might get. You need to explain to the employer clearly how you could make it work.”
www.mediaparents.co.uk asks employers to list the ways in which they would consider or already use flexible working practices. You can assume that any employer on our site is amenable to flexible working so calculate how you can make it work for you and make an approach – no harm in asking or using your initiative. When you have worked with an employer on the Media Parents site the employer can leave feedback for you that other employers but not other freelancers can see. You can always remove it, but employers say this is useful to them.
Tessa Matchett – Ex job-sharer and Head of Strategic Communications – BBC Vision
“I think there’s a burden of proof – you need to start a track record as a job sharer. The first day I said ‘I will join you by phone at the meeting’ I got on the phone and I was shaking, but the more you do it… You feel like you’re training people to work differently with you.”
Every team in the Communications department at BBC Vision recruits a job share position. And if you come as a package, it’s a great thing for an employer. If you come alone and ask for a job share, it’s more difficult for the employer. Handover notes are very important and sharing time in the office with your other half is important too.
Tessa made the point that she didn’t know her job share partner before they started working together so they had to learn to work together. This is common in job shares in the wider workplace, so if you haven’t worked with a job share partner before it’s not impossible.
Read on for comment from Helen Mathews – HR Director, Tiger Aspect.