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How job sharing benefits both team members and Travis Perkins

13 Dec

When Birmingham’s BSS Industrial Smethwick branch experienced business growth that led to expanded hours, Branch Manager Richard Turner had a predicament on his hands. With an extra hour and a half of work on either end of the day, he knew he’d need to hire more staff to help cover the additional work, but the longer hours made that tricky. His idea? Rather than having one full-time role that didn’t quite cover the two busiest times of the day (first thing in the morning and later in the afternoon), why not split the role into two?

Richard decided to turn a potential full-time role into two-part time ones, with a 5am-9am shift to cover the morning rush and a 2pm-6pm to cover the afternoon period. In doing so, he knows the two busiest times of the day are fully staffed, making warehouse picking and processing quicker and more efficient. He believes this type of arrangement would work well in other branches and organisations – here’s why:

A more efficient workplace

According to Richard, splitting the shift in two gives BSS an extra pair of hands when he needs it most. He says every BSS branch – and indeed, many workplaces – have peaks and troughs of activity at similar times every day, so by anticipating when more staff are needed, he can ensure all work is covered in an efficient way.

At Smethwick, Richard hired Ivan for the 5am-9am morning shift, while Maxine covers the 2pm-6pm shift. Each role is specific, says Richard, with stock replenishment, order preparation and picking and packing all covered within these two shifts. Both Maxine and Ivan come in fresh and full of energy each day, with no lull in work or activity to slow them down. Richard says the split-shift model has been so effective it should be rolled out elsewhere – by identifying the peaks and troughs of a typical work day and hiring accordingly, he’s been able to hire two great people and meet his business needs. While he was initially unsure how the split-shift would work out, there was overwhelming interest in the two positions, with more applicants than he’d typically see coming through. This suggests part-time roles are increasingly sought after, and as the Smethwick solution has been so successful, Richard would definitely employ more people in a part-time capacity in future.

A better work-life balance

For many people throughout the UK, working part-time or reduced hours provides a significantly improved work-life balance. As three-quarters of UK workers say flexible working benefits make jobs more appealing to them, it’s clear that employees are calling out for job opportunities that suit their lifestyles – and the Smethwick solution is just that.

For Ivan, a sole carer to his blind mother, the part-time hours mean he can balance his career with his family commitments. By the time he’s finished work for the day, many people are only just starting– and he can then go home to take care of his mother. He says:

“As my mother is blind, I take care of all the cooking, shopping, cleaning and so on. Me starting work earlier allows me to keep an eye on her throughout the day, and means I’m not worrying about her while I’m at work, as she’s with a carer for most of my shift. During my shift, I’m busy from start to finish, which is great – I enjoy my job and the business is very supportive and helpful. Our branch is open for long hours, so the shift situation makes sense – and if the demand is there from employees, why not do it? It benefits me personally and allows me to concentrate on my mother.”

Maxine, a single parent with a young baby girl, says the hours are perfect for her lifestyle. Her mother helps with childcare during the day, and the part-time hours means Maxine still spends plenty of time with her daughter, as well as being able to bring in an income.

“Coming back to work after having a child, I couldn’t find many companies that would allow me to work hours that would support childcare. Few employers were offering part-time work, but I didn’t feel comfortable taking a full-time role when my daughter is so young. Not only do the hours suit, but I love my job and I love coming into work. The job means I get all morning with my daughter and am home in time to put her to bed, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out. Split shifts and part time work open up more opportunities for single parents and people who can’t work full-time due to their personal situations. Businesses can still benefit from your skills in a job that suits your lifestyle. It’s a lovely company to work for, and if I hadn’t found this shift I might not otherwise be working.”

Find out more about working at Travis Perkins plc

The Travis Perkins group has a range of roles across more than 20 businesses. We love supporting our team members to do more and achieve their goals, whatever they may be. Find out more about working for us, or browse our latest vacancies to find your next jobs.

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