Flexible jobs are a growing segment of the job market as employers embrace the benefits for both themselves and their workers. Current technology makes it easier than ever for people to work from home or from the road, and flexible jobs are becoming a common workplace benefit. If you’re considering a flexible job or just want to know more about them, here are four commonly asked questions (and their answers) about flexible jobs.
Are there any real work from home jobs?
People are naturally (and rightfully) skeptical when it comes to jobs that say you can work from home. But yes, there are actually thousands of legitimate, professional-level telecommuting jobs available in a huge variety of career categories. The jobs you receive in your e-mail spam box, offering to pay you thousands of dollars to work from home filling out surveys or stuffing envelopes are ALWAYS scams. To find legitimate jobs, use phrases like “telecommute job” and “remote job” rather than “work from home” or “work at home,” which are most commonly used in scam job listings.
What types of flexible schedules exist?
Flexible schedule is a broad term that encompasses a lot of different workplace flexibility options. Flexible schedules can mean exactly that — that you are allowed to set your own schedule or hours. Or it can be a specific schedule that is considered flexible compared to traditional office hours. For example, you might start work earlier or later to avoid typical commuting hours. Or you may work four days a week for 10 hours each day with Fridays off (also called compressed workweeks). You may be able to work whatever hours work best for you – mornings, afternoons, evenings, or nights, or it may be some combination of all of these.
Why do some telecommuting jobs require a location? If I’m allowed to work from home, why do they care where I live?
This is definitely a confusing point of telecommuting jobs – some employers will let you work from home, provided you live in a given region of the country, state, or city. This is for a number of reasons: Employers may want you in a particular state for tax reasons. Or, if they want you in a certain city, they might want you to come to the office for occasional meetings or important events. If they want you in a region, it could be that they need someone to cover that territory, or they want you within a certain time zone, or within a few hours of the office for meetings. It can really be any combination of these reasons.
Do flexible jobs pay less or have fewer benefits than traditional jobs?
A very common – and understandable – concern! While this may have been somewhat true years ago at the beginning of the flexible job trend, salaries have pretty much caught up for telecommuting or flexible jobs. Salaries, whether hourly or yearly, are comparable to traditional jobs, and many flexible jobs offer benefits. For benefits, the exception may be with freelance jobs, in which the worker is considered self-employed or an independent contractor responsible for his or her own benefits. But overall, we find that salaries for flexible jobs are competitive with traditional jobs.
There’s also the cost-savings to consider
When you work a flexible job, you probably spend less (or no) time telecommuting, which saves on gas, car maintenance, etc. If you work a telecommuting job, you’re not buying work clothes or going to the dry cleaner nearly as much, and you’re probably eating lunch out a lot less. You may need fewer hours of childcare every day or week. Overall, people find they save quite a bit of money every year through workplace flexibility, which can often make up the difference in salary or benefits.
The variety of flexible jobs is growing every day – there are telecommuting jobs, flexible schedule jobs, compressed workweeks, job shares, freelance jobs, part-time jobs, and any combination of those. Flexible jobs are a great solution for working parents, military spouses, people with disabilities, retirees, people who live in economically hard-hit regions, students, and anyone who wants more work-life balance.