What Is Flexible Working? (And How to Find Flexible Jobs)
Nowadays, more people want to take control of their time and find flexible jobs that fit around their lives (rather than fitting their lives around work). Imagine being able to skip the commute, work from home, and set your own working hours.
Sound ideal? Then flexible working might be for you! In this blog post, we discuss:
- What flexible working is
- What benefits flexible working has
- How to find flexible jobs that suit your needs
Keep reading to find out more about flexible working.
What Is Flexible Working?
Flexible working typically refers to work that offers flexibility with where you work, when you work, and how much you work. Flexible working arrangements can be formal or informal and can vary quite considerably depending on the employer. It may involve:
- Working from home: These days, you can do many jobs remotely. So as long as you have a laptop or a PC and a good internet connection, you can work from the comfort of your own home, in a coworking space, or in a café. Some people take this a step further and travel while they work.
- Job share: This involves two employees working part-time to complete the work of one full-time employee. They may see each other or have no overlap throughout the week. This form of work is especially helpful to those who need flexibility due to personal circumstances.
- Flexitime: With flexitime, employees can choose, within certain limits, when to start and finish work. This form of work can be particularly helpful to parents because it means they can shift their working hours to fit around the school run. It also allows employees to work when they’re at their most productive and avoid working at times when they tend to slump.
- Compressed hours: Compressed hours allow you to work full-time hours over fewer days. Instead of working the typical eight-hour shift for five consecutive days, you might work nine hours a day over four days. Compressed hours can be beneficial if you need time off each week to care for someone or have other personal commitments. Four-day workweeks are becoming increasingly popular; research shows that a shorter workweek can improve employee well-being, reduce the likelihood of burnout, and boost productivity.
- Annualized hours: Employees work a certain number of hours over the year but have flexibility in distributing those hours. Often, there are mandatory “core hours,” but outside of these, employees are free to do as they wish.
- Commissioned outcomes: This means there are no fixed hours, only an output target that an employee works toward.
- Zero-hour contracts: Similar to commissioned hours, this type of work has no fixed hours; the only difference is that there is no specific target, and an employee can be called upon as and when required and paid just for their work hours.
What Are the Benefits of Flexible Working?
Flexible working has lots of benefits, including:
- Achieving a better work–life balance
- Having more time to spend with family
- Cutting the commute
- Reducing stress and burnout
- Experiencing greater job satisfaction
1. Achieving a Better Work–Life Balance
Many jobs come with a strict contract that offers little flexibility regarding working hours and location. This situation can make maintaining a good balance between work and other responsibilities, hobbies, or interests difficult for employees.
Flexible work options can help employees take control of their time and find a schedule that suits their needs. Not only is this option great for people with caring responsibilities; it’s also beneficial to anyone who wants more time for other areas of their lives, such as hobbies, side hustles, or simply more relaxation time.
2. Having More Time to Spend With Family
Flexible working allows individuals with family members to take care of them and still earn an income. For example, working from home can help new parents balance parenthood with returning to work, and flexible start and finish times offer them the freedom to do the school run.
Similarly, flexible working can make supporting loved ones who need help easier for carers, especially during the day.
3. Cutting the Commute
Work can be stressful enough without adding commutes and traffic jams into the mix! Plus, commuting can be costly. If you work from home or for a company with a hybrid working model, you can cut down your commute time and reduce your costs significantly. You may also see a reduction in your stress levels – something that’s great for your mind and body – as well as your productivity levels!
4. Reducing Stress and Burnout
According to a recent report by the Health and Safety Executive, stress, depression, and anxiety accounted for 51% of all work-related ill health cases in the UK in 2021/2022.
Excessive amounts of work, a lack of support, and the pressure to partake in hustle culture can all result in employee burnout. The World Health Organization defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” Symptoms include feelings of apathy toward work, decreased productivity, and increased exhaustion.
Flexible working provides a viable alternative that allows employees to be productive without sacrificing their work–life balance.
5. Experiencing Greater Job Satisfaction
We all want to be satisfied in our jobs, but what does job satisfaction actually mean? Job satisfaction has to do with how much enjoyment and fulfillment you get from your work. Your work environment, your relationships with colleagues, your employee perks, your work–life balance, and your sense of feeling appreciated and heard determine job satisfaction.
Having the option to negotiate flexible working conditions can help boost job satisfaction because it allows employees to work in a way that suits their needs as well as those of their employer.
How to Find Flexible Jobs
1. Use Keywords on Job Sites
When browsing job sites, you’ll often get thousands of results per search, with only a handful being actually relevant. To find the most relevant results, try using keywords (e.g., flexible, remote, part-time) tailored to the role you want.
2. Research Flexible Work Policies
Before you apply for a role, doing some research to find out whether a company offers flexible work arrangements is always a good idea. Check the company’s website, use LinkedIn, or even reach out to your network to find relevant information.
You can also try sites such as Glassdoor that offer reviews from current and former employees and lists of the best flexible places to work.
3. Be Ready to Negotiate
If you’re unsure of whether a company offers flexible hours or remote work opportunities, it’s best to address this question during the interview process. If the company offers you the role, you may need to negotiate the terms of your contract.
If you’re happy with your current workplace but want to discuss flexible working options, we recommend setting up a meeting with your manager. Before you go into the meeting, make sure you’re clear on exactly what you want to achieve and how you might mitigate potential issues.
4. Consider Freelancing
Freelancing offers the ultimate flexibility – you get to choose when to work, where to work, and who to work with. Freelancers are self-employed and usually work on a flexible, contractual basis. And best of all, all kinds of industries offer freelance opportunities!
Freelancing is an ideal option for anyone who wants to take complete control of their time and work toward their own goals (rather than those of a particular company). It’s also a great way to try a new career or niche!
Becoming a Freelancer
Does freelancing sound like a good fit for you? We can help you get started!
Our proofreading and editing courses will teach you everything you need to know to start a flexible freelance career as a proofreader and/or editor. Plus, with our guaranteed work offer, you won’t need to worry about finding your first client.
Try our courses for free today.
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