Flexible Work: What You Must Know to Get a Great Gig

flexible workSo what’s the secret to finding legitimate telecommuting jobs, freelancing opportunities, part-time or flexible work?

If you’ve been looking for a job that doesn’t mandate a traditional work schedule or doesn’t require you report to an office, you’ve either been disappointed by the lack of posted opportunities or discouraged by the too-good-to-be-true looking scams. 

The good news is that 80% of companies offer flexible working arrangements according to a survey conducted by WorldatWork, a human resources association, and FlexJobs, an online career site.

However, only 44% publicize flexible work benefits.

“Flexible” Has Many Different Meanings

It can mean working a nontraditional schedule or performing work from an alternative location. The top three flexible work programs offered to most or some employees according to the study included:

  • Flex time
  • Part-time hours
  • Telework, sometimes called telecommuting

The majority of companies surveyed allowed employees to work from a remote location on an as-needed basis, such as staying home with a sick child or meeting a repair person. Ad hoc telework, was the most popular flexible work alternative. The second most frequently referenced work alternative was flexible work hours, which allows employees to start and end their work days at times that are different from the normal operating hours. Offering a part-time schedule, either with or without benefits, was the third most cited flexible work option.

Companies also reported offering employees the ability to work remotely at least one day per week or one day per month, but these types of telework were offered less often than ad-hoc telework. Half the companies surveyed say they customize flexible work to suit an employee’s situation.

If you are looking for a more flexible schedule, these findings should be good news. More companies are open to the idea of making the workplace more conducive to employees’ schedules.

Flexible Work Isn’t Always Formalized

There are still flaws in how employers roll out flexible work programs. Most don’t have a formal policy in place. In fact, 64% of companies admit that the policies for flexible work were informal or not in writing. An additional problem is that 67% of managers offer flexibility at their own discretion. This adds inconsistency in interpretation and administration of an already contentious work benefit.

Companies that have a strategically embedded culture to support flexible work programs have greater employee engagement, higher employee motivation and significantly better employee satisfaction than employers with a weak or nonexistent flex work program. As more companies educate managers and potential employees on how flexible work programs work, the more prevalent flexible work should become in our workforce.

Few Employers Market Flexible Positions

Good luck finding companies or jobs that welcome candidates looking for flexible work. The study found that almost half of the companies that offer flexible work schedules admit they do not publicly promote their offering.

Flexible Work Isn’t Always a Work-From-Home Scam

There are legitimate freelance and telecommuting opportunities. The key is to vet the opportunities. Start by looking at companies that are recognized for offering legitimate opportunities. You can search online by using keywords, such as “top flexible employers” or “top work-from-home companies.” When you see flexible jobs advertised, be wary if the posting offers a huge salary, requires payment up front or offers immediate interviews. These are some tell-tale signs of a scam. Also realize that sites, such as Craigslist or other job boards with low or no fees, make good targets for posting scams.

Don’t Get Discouraged

You can search job posting websites geared specifically for telework or flex work, such as Flexjobs.com, which pre-screen and vet opportunities to make your life easier. You will also want to tap into your network and ask employees how open their managers or company is to working nontraditional schedules.

Self Advocate

Once you find a lead on a flex-friendly employer, you still need to advocate for yourself prior to joining a company. Ask managers and employees during the interview process to talk about the flexible work arrangements. And even if the employer isn’t open to flexible work, it is worth asking about making an exception for you. The worst you will hear is no.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa!


Career Sherpa


Hannah Morgan hiring prosAbout the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa, and follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!



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