Job sharing doubles the difference

Meet Michelle Chen and Ivana Niu, who share more than a love of coffee! They job share the Care Manager role at Uniting AgeWell Kingsville Community.

Michelle works a seven-day fortnight; Ivana works eight days, and between the two of them bring huge strengths and expertise to the role while juggling their busy family lives at home.

This two-in-one role is the brainchild of Residential Services Manager Luke Pualic, who brings new meaning to the concept of flexible work arrangements.

Michelle, who joined UA three years ago, describes the situation as “one stone, two birds!”

“It was the only way we could continue in our roles, whilst still providing care for our children. When one of us has family commitments and needs to take leave, the other is there to cover the shift. It’s a better structure and a better work life balance,” Michelle says.

“We are completely different people, with completely different strengths. When we took a leadership test, Ivana and I only had two strengths that overlapped, the rest were different. But that difference is what makes us such a great team!”

Ivana, who joined UA two years ago, agrees. “We have the same aim and that is the care of the residents. We are driven by UA’s mission and values.”

Ivana also appreciates the support she gets from this dynamic duo. “I have learnt so much from Michelle. She has been doing this a long time and is very good at what she does. She has helped me develop my communications skills and this has given me more confidence.”

The job share arrangement means there’s always a Care Manager available seven days a week and there’s no backlog of work for one person from the weekend. “This is a huge plus for residents and families, and even prospective families who come for a tour of the facility, knowing there is always a Care Manager on hand they can talk to,” Michelle says.

Michelle recalls that during the height of COVID and lockdowns, she and Ivana both stepped up to work full time when they were short on staff. “It was a huge benefit to have two Care Managers able to cover shifts during that difficult period.”

Both are now big advocates of job sharing and recommend it to others looking for that balance. “Just do it!” they say. “It takes two to make a team!”

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