As repeatedly has been stated, the Generation Y is on the lookout for a suitable work-life-balance. This means that new working models with less than the standard 40-hour working week are very appealing, considering that it is the only way to gain more free time. One such model is the job-sharing model. There is a German company based in Berlin called Tandemploy, which not only sells a special software for job-sharing, but also genuinely lives this approach inside the company. Surprisingly, the word “free time” turns to a different meaning at the end of the article…
A matching software for networking organization: share, rotate, mentor, and exchange
The product, that this company sells, is very simple: it is a software which facilitates a task-oriented job organization, baptized as “New Work”. It features the following five options: Mentors, Job Sharing, Job Rotation, Projects and Working Cycles.
The first, Mentors, is a smart tool that helps your staff to find each other for mentoring tandems independently and on their own initiative. In addition to classic mentoring constellations (often “career mentoring”), Tandemploy can quickly and effectively identify mentoring partners for intergenerational exchanges, contacts for onboarding, or simply colleagues for a quick exchange of knowledge.
Job Sharing on the contrary, matches two colleagues who would like to share their position, or who would like to plan a co-leadership. This form is particularly suitable as a concrete option for parental leave returnees or partial retirees who could benefit from a sparring partner. Also, it can enable part-time leadership as a strategic measure to avoid knowledge silos at the management level and to launch a new leadership culture.
The Job Rotation model, also known as Job Shadowing, has been created to facilitate swaps across departments or borders. Two-sided exchanges can be coordinated as well as one-sided shadowing, as a change of perspective, in other areas. The latter can represent an opportunity for sabbatical seekers for example. In addition, it encourages young professionals (such as apprentices or trainees) to independently look for opportunities to work within the organization.
As for the option Projects, this digital tool helps project teams come together in no time: project managers or initiators specify which competencies they lack and a smart alert system informs only the colleagues who have the right expertise and are looking to collaborate on a project. Since the whole software is based on a bottom-up approach, ideas from the workforce can be actively encouraged this way.
The last model, the Working Circle, is a tool-based circle matching that promotes mutual support and peer learning in the organization – basically to exchange and gain new knowledge. It is a good solution to bring on mutual education within the organization.
Living (and enjoying) the values that are offered to their clients
Besides selling their product, this company’s most valuable proposition is the model that they implemented within their own organization, which is certainly based on what they preach: job sharing!
The premise is that work needs to be considered as dynamic tasks, not stiff positions. Also there are few rules that have to be established in advance. But first, this is how it works in practice:
Patrick is responsible for web demos, innovation and events. He works 25 hours a week. In his time off, he is dedicated to writing. Since three months he is on a sabbatical and only writes. In May he will come back to work.
Marie is a social media manager. She works 20 hours, in 3 days per week. Next to her job, she writes a food blog and last year she founded her own jewelry label.
Simon is a frontend developer and works from Monday to Wednesday. In the rest of the week, he works for his own projects.
Alicia is responsible for the blog and all the other content. She works from home, 20 hours per week. In the rest of the week, she works as a free editor, as a nutritional coach and as a mum.
How can such a structure work well? By creating the right framework – they would say. During the recruiting process, the candidates are asked how many hours they want to work. There is enough room and understanding for other work or leisure, or family. Then, the teams are usually interdisciplinary. Every core competency can be found at least twice in the company. Transparent communication is the most important, as well as reliability when it comes to results and to deadlines. This requires a lot of flexibility and discipline, but also mutual understanding. Working hours have to be coordinated among the teams and again, reliability is crucial. The founder and CEO, Anna Kaiser, states that in spite of the help of digital tools, there are some essentials in the system: clear rules, a good structure and a lot of empathy. Also, by granting a lot of flexibility, the employees are aware of the bigger responsibility they have.
What can be said is that there are only winners with such a system: the employees are happy, motivated and despite working less, they feel more responsible and efficient. The company benefits of this kind of employees and automatically generates better results. And if we have a closer look to these employees: they do not work less to sleep the rest of their time. They have other projects, develop further talents, learn new competencies, grow up the next generation or volunteer for great initiatives. What better world than that?