Vita and Jerry Burdi, co-owners of DJs Home Improvements, on Long Island, N.Y., realized how dependent they were on their executive assistant when she had a troubled pregnancy and didn’t return after her maternity leave. The Burdis rethought the position and filled it in a week. Their decision: Hire two people.

<<p>Vita hired and trained one person for the position, which includes some accounting; maintaining a library of materials, books, and products; scheduling; and screening potential clients. That new hire worked solo for a month, and then trained the second hire. Now, one works Monday, Wednesday, Friday; the other Tuesday, Thursday. The job share works well for everyone. The two women created a procedures manual so that “if they’re both gone, I can hire a temp who can follow step by step,” Vita says.

Vita worried at first that there would be double training for her, too many procedural methods, and that she would ultimately lose control. Now she sees that she had nothing to fear. The two women have taken ownership of the job by collaborating and coaching each other. “They both see that their opinions are taken seriously and are acted upon,” Vita says. “They’re the backbone of the company, and having both of them gives us so much more flexibility.”