How fractional work and role-sharing will define the future of work

The trend: The future of work is almost certainly more flexible. Fractional work and role-sharing are slowly making their way into mainstream worklife.

What does it mean?

  • Fractional work: Employees work part-time for several different employers. The arrangement has long been popular within the startup community as a way for companies to get services in a way they can afford and for workers to gain experience in different companies.
  • Role-sharing: One position is shared by two or more workers. This trend has been popular in other markets such as the UK.
  • Due to the flexibility accelerated by the pandemic and company uncertainty in the current economic climate, both are gaining legitimacy and popularity in more traditional corporate environments. This is enabled by tech startups building platforms to make the process easier from both sides.

Making waves in flex working: Two startups are leading the way.

Continuum launched in 2020 with the goal of helping to connect startups with part-time executive help.

  • Its platform gives both sides the opportunity to shop around and pick the company or individual profiles they want to pursue.
  • In another pivot to meet current market needs, the company recently launched a new product intended to make layoffs easier for all those involved.
  • It offers consulting for startups planning layoffs to make sure they handle it well and don’t damage brand image.

UK-based Roleshare launched in 2021 with the goal of making job sharing easier.

  • Its marketplace matches partial job-seekers with each other so they can apply together for full-time roles.
  • The company aims to normalize a job trend that began as a way for mothers to return to the workforce in the ’70s and has been gaining popularity among corporate workers in the UK.

What you need to know: The norms of the talent marketplace are changing, and brand image is important for job candidates.

  • Companies should consider whether fractional work and role-sharing could solve certain problems for them, such as inability to hire top talent or preventing layoffs.
  • The more open they become to new work trends, the more flexibility they give themselves. Sticking to old ways won’t help here.
  • The brand image implications of hiring practices will only increase. How much flexibility a company allows or how it handles layoffs will be key factors contributing to consumer perception during this period of economic uncertainty.