The Advantages and Disadvantages of Flexible Jobs
Flexible jobs and working remotely have become very popular lately. Many employees prefer working in the commodity of their own homes instead of operating in a crowded office. According to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, “between 2005 and 2012, the number of remote workers surged by more than 70% at for-profit companies.” This study alone shows how rapidly remote and gig work are growing. Another study by Flexjobs found that the number of people quitting a job because of flexibility issues nearly doubled from 17 to 32% in the last three years.
The main reason why many employees switch to working remote is because of the flexibility that it offers. While teamwork and a supervised setting are both appreciable qualities of an offline work environment, flexible work hours allow you to balance life more. There is no need to stress about traffic hours, you can design your own schedule as you please, and you develop organizational skills quickly.
However, there are also disadvantages to having a flexible job. People who thrive in the office environment and love socializing will have a hard time accommodating to a digital life. They might even get more distracted while working at home or in a café. In any case, people are different, and opinions are split on this matter.
In this article, we will examine the pros and cons of working flexible jobs.
Advantages of Working a Flexible Job
With a flexible work schedule, workers will see these benefits:
- Increased Employee Productivity
- More Time for Yourself
- Better Organizational Skills
- Less Stress and More Cost Savings
- Work from Anywhere
According to a 2016 survey of American remote workers, about 91 percent of people who work from home feel that they’re more productive than when they’re in an office, writes Forbes magazine.
There are many reasons why employees feel more determined and prolific while working at home. First, if they work faster, they will have more time for themselves. Second, if they work effectively, they won’t have to spend extra hours on editing. And third, they are not stressed about their bosses looking over their shoulder all of the time. On top of that:
- Working in an office can be distracting – with the constant hustle and bustle of the office environment, employees tend to get less done in a longer period of time. Think about those irritating office conversations you might have with people you don’t really connect with or those noisy phone talks your colleagues might pursue right next to your desk. The more you concentrate on external factors, the less productive you are.
- Working offline helps you earn more – if you can get more stuff done in a shorter period of time, you are able to get more done in the amount of time you’d spend in an office. So, let’s say you have a really productive day working at home – that can feel like 2 days of hard work in an office, right? You do the math.
Extra advantage: in the end, it’s not only about the employees. It’s about the company benefiting as well. Research has proved that the cost of replacing a salaried employee offline costs the company somewhere around 7 to 9 months’ salary. Thus, a flexible job has a powerful impact on the company as well, as it decreases turnover drastically.
Developing social relationships is really important, but most of the times, working a 9 to 5 offline job prevents us from pursuing these goals. If you are a people person, you probably enjoy spending time with your friends and making new connections. A flexible job allows you to enjoy more free time, get to know more people, and balance a healthy lifestyle.
Let’s face it: after a long day at work, all you want to do is lay in bed and watch Netflix with your loved one. Finding the necessary drive to go out and socialize becomes truly challenging. In these moments, a pizza and a couch sounds like heaven, doesn’t it?
You might socialize with your coworkers, but how can you find the time to encounter new people? A big advantage of working remotely is that it allows you to work whenever you want, so you can go out and meet new people whenever you feel like it. And guess what? You could have a pizza and lay on your coach while proofreading your work. One could say it is a win-win situation.
A flexible job will teach you how to stay organized. Without developing organizational skills, you might find it hard to pursue this type of job.
- You will be able to set your own schedule – nobody will ask you to “get up at 6:30 so you can make it to work by 8:00.” However, you will slowly realize that getting up early and getting tasks done in the morning is more efficient. You will understand that mapping out a plan one night ahead will keep you on the right track.
- You will be able to work out whenever you want – if one day you simply don’t feel like working, you can go out for a jog, lift some weights, or go mountain biking. You’ll learn that working out will increase your productivity, and add to your efficiency.
- You will manage your time better and more carefully – you will learn that structuring your day and designing a proper schedule will maximize your performance.
These results are concerning, as reported mental health illnesses are growing in numbers, with workers feeling increasingly anxious about maintaining healthy relationships with their coworkers. Traffic stress and deadline concerns contribute to the anxiety.
More flexible jobs benefits:
- Avoid the stresses of commuting – the time it takes to get to work won’t matter anymore, as you could work from the comfort of your own bed or home office.
- Monitoring your children becomes easier – you’ll be at home, always ready to pick up your children from school, or attend their soccer games. Cheers to being an awesome parent!
- Having time to relax – as I mentioned previously, you can work out whenever you want, attend yoga classes, meditate, develop spiritually, do some planks – everything is possible when you have a flexible job.
According to a new research study at MIT Sloan School of Management, “workers at a Fortune 500 company who participated in a pilot work flexibility program voiced higher levels of job satisfaction and reduced levels of burnout and psychological stress than employees within the same company who did not participate.” These results are stunning, as they prove how much of a positive impact working a flexible job can have on individuals.
Being able to work from anywhere is a huge advantage of working remotely. Traveling becomes easier and traffic stresses can easily be avoided. On Monday you can work from a local coffee shop near your house, on Tuesday you can finish an assignment in an airport, on Wednesday you could take a break and explore a state park or a big city, on Thursday you could be working from the comfort of your hotel room, and so on.
In any case, working remotely is not always a piece of cake. Traveling this world and working in the same time might be challenging at times – it’s not always a pleasure. Here are some quick tips that will make your digital nomad easier to handle:
- Organize your time well and plan out your tasks – if you don’t manage your time properly, you’ll end up working more than necessary, and traveling the world and working to support yourself will soon become working throughout the world and maybe visiting some touristy places. It’s important to work efficiently while traveling, as time is an important tool.
- Prioritizing your tasks and combining pleasant activities with useful tasks is also crucial – if you party too much and don’t get any work done, how are you going to survive financially?
- Create a routine and stick to it – for instance, work in the morning, so you have enough time to explore.
A flexible job allows you to travel the world and explore the unknown – tip: make sure you work hard, so you can party hard after!
The Disadvantages of Working a Flexible job
However, there can still be disadvantages to working a flexible job. Below are some reasons why a flexible job could be a turn-off for some workers:
- No Employment Benefits Packages
- Earning Less Money
- Problems with Career Advancement
- Miscommunication Issues
Most online workers get no health care benefits from their virtual employers, especially those working part-time jobs. Workers living in first and second world countries must support the full costs of their treatment if getting sick or going through illnesses. For some employees, this might be a huge disadvantage, especially if living in a relatively rich part of the world, or if they know they are constantly prone to disease.
While it’s true that working remotely saves you lots of gas money and cuts down on clothing expenses, you might also earn a lower income. If, for example, you are a world traveler and freelancer, there is a high chance you’ll work a part-time job. And working less means earning less, right? Not necessarily. It’s possible to make a lot of money freelancing, but there will be times where you don’t have work lined up and you will miss out on earning money for that week.
Ian Smith, a content writer at EssayGeeks.co.uk dissertation service and digital nomad, shares his story. “I’ve decided to become a digital nomad when I was 17. There was no much to do for me, as I had almost no skills to offer. During my first three years, I was working 6 hours daily, earning no more than $400 per week. I started taking online SEO courses and improved my Photoshop skills, and now my current salary per week is no less than $1,500.”
“It really depends on how much you want to improve, you know,” shares Gea Campbell, freelancer and world traveler. “If you are not interested in developing your skills, your salary will show it. If, on the other hand, your determination is sturdy and willpower strong, you can earn even more than the usual 9 to 5 worker. It’s really up to you and your resolution.”
Climbing the success ladder as a flexible job employee can be difficult, but it’s definitely not impossible. Remote workers interested in moving up within a company should possess highly communicative skills and plenty of perseverance. We are humans so the lack of in-person interaction might have a negative impact on your career advancement opportunities; but as I’ve said, nothing is impossible if you really want it.
In order to enlarge your chances of success, you must be seriously committed to your job. Many people take their online jobs non-seriously and end up disappointed at the end of the day. If you want to advance faster:
- Take your job seriously
- Create a well-designed LinkedIn profile
- Update your resume constantly
- Clean up posts on your social media platforms
- Join freelance groups/websites for networking and job opportunities
- Don’t leave different sections of your online profile(s) incomplete
- Prepare to be contacted by professionals
Tip: Think twice before accepting a job offer; always check if there are advancement opportunities available first!
When deciding to work remotely, cubicle meetings are not a thing anymore. There are Skype meetings or Google Hangouts gatherings. But these are all dependent on technology – so what happens when you miss them?
Miscommunication can easily become a problem for freelancers. To avoid these situations, you must be constantly present online, and communicate persistently with your employer. Quick advice:
- Don’t let one day pass by without reaching out to your online team and/or employer.
- Choose a good platform to communicate on, and make sure the other part knows that’s the best form of communication. Check out Deputy’s all-in-one employee management and communication tool for a better way to receive messages and keep track of tasks.
- When reaching out, be open to feedback and criticism.
- Let your employers/colleagues know when the best time to contact you is, especially if there is a time zone difference.
- Interact with the people you work with, even if online. Video chat with them and meet them in person if you have the chance.
As you can see, opinions are split on whether flexible jobs are beneficial as a whole. In my opinion, the advantages of working remotely outweigh the disadvantages, but it’s important to consider the pros and cons before deciding to pursue an online career. Be prepared for the worst, keep your head up, and make the proper decision for you.
Looking to work a more flexible job? Check out this article for our list of the best flexible gig jobs.
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