As a concept, flexible work sounds great. Work flexibility generally means that you can gain more control over when, where and how you work, and in return, employers reap benefits like improved productivity and better recruitment and retention.
Under the umbrella of work flexibility, there are six main types of flexible work options: remote work, part-time hours, flexible scheduling, freelance or gig work, job sharing and phased retirement.
Which of these may work well for you? Below, we’ve detailed each type of flexibility and a few of the companies hiring for that type of flexibility right now, along with currently-available jobs (as of March 7, 2018). The jobs were chosen because they are representative each type of flexible work, and because they show the variety of jobs that come with flexible work options.
Most of the companies below are supporters of 1 Million for Work Flexibility, which means they’ve made it clear that they value flexible work options. The open job titles listed with each company are based on flexible job posting data from 1 Million’s sister organization, FlexJobs.
Remote work, telecommuting, telework, working from home — they all mean essentially the same thing: working outside of an office, wherever it makes the most sense.
Much of the time, remote workers work from home, but some of these jobs require out-of-the-house activities like in-office meetings, traveling to meet clients and in-person training. If you have a long daily commute or you’d prefer to be close to home most days, and you can work well independently, remote work may be a good option for you.
Companies hiring for remote jobs:
Part-time hours are sometimes conflated with meaning half-time or 20-hours-per-week, but there’s no specific number of hours linked to part-time work. A part-time worker is someone who works anything less than full-time hours (40 hours per week). Part-time jobs exist for as few as five hours and as many as 35 or more per week, depending on the nature of the role and the company’s needs.
Part-time hours are a great match for people juggling a lot of responsibilities outside of work, like caregivers, parents, and people with chronic health issues. They’re also a good fit for anyone who wants extra time during the week to pursue hobbies and interests, start a side business, or volunteer more.
Companies hiring for part-time jobs:
A flexible schedule generally means you have some control over your work hours, but that can take a variety of forms.
For example, you might be able to choose to start at 8 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. every day, rather than sticking to traditional 9-to-5 hours. Or, you could work during certain core hours defined by the company (for example, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), but outside of those, you’re able to choose when to complete the rest of the day’s hours.
Some flexible-schedule jobs give you complete control over when you work each day. If you’re looking for more control over your work days, this flexible work option gives you just that.
Companies hiring for flexible-schedule jobs:
Freelance or Gig Work
Freelance work is another type of flexibility that goes by many names: independent contracting, contract jobs, the gig economy, side hustles and consulting to name a few. Freelancing is essentially the ultimate form of flexible job because it gives you complete control over when, where, how and with whom you work.
Freelancers are self-employed and work on temporary assignments and ongoing projects for one or more clients at a time. Unlike employees, freelancers are also responsible for paying their own employment taxes, finding their own health insurance and managing their own benefits, such as 401(k)s, professional development, sick time and more. For the independent spirit or business-minded professional, freelance jobs work well.
Companies hiring for freelance jobs:
A job-share is defined as one full-time role split between two part-time employees. These types of jobs are less common than other flexible work options and are generally found through networking rather than open job listings.
Job sharing requires effective communication, strong time management and clear goals and expectations so that the two people sharing a position are effective and productive. If you work really well with teams and want to work reduced or part-time hours, you should consider job sharing.
Companies hiring for job-sharing jobs:
For workers nearing retirement age, the idea of retiring fully after a lifetime of work can seem unreasonable. Whether you want or need to keep working, phased retirement offers a way to stay active in the workforce while reducing the hours worked.
Phased retirement can happen with your current employer, or it can be accomplished by finding various part-time and freelance roles that keep you professionally active, yet not working full-time.
Phased retirement jobs are not usually advertised as such. Any part-time, flexible-schedule, remote or freelance job might be a good fit if you’re looking for a phased retirement arrangement.
The first step to finding a flexible job is to figure out which options will work for you. Then it’s time to get researching and applying.
Brie Weiler Reynolds is the Senior Career Specialist at FlexJobs and its sister sites, including 1 Million for Work Flexibility, an initiative to create a collective voice in support of work flexibility. Brie has a background in human resources and career advising, almost 15 years of experience working with job seekers and employers, and is a Certified Advanced Resume Writer (CARW). Find Brie on Twitter, @briewreynolds.