If you’re looking for better work-life balance, 2016 may be your year for change.
Telecommuting and other forms of flexible scheduling outside traditional 9-5 office hours is growing and is available in a surprising number of fields, experts say. Millennials, now the largest share of workers, are behind some of the push.
“Flexible work is gaining great momentum, as we’ve seen from increases in the number of telecommuters in the workforce, as well as in the number of organizations supporting workplaces for work flexibility options and initiatives,” said Sara Sutton Fell, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, a subscriber-based online job search service. “Flexible work will not only play a significant role in the future of work, it will be a key differential of successful employers.”
“Telecommuting is no longer an isolated employee in a different state, but employees fluidly switching from in-office to out-of-office work styles,” Rebecca Brooks, founder of Alter Agents market research, told Business Management Daily.
The growth in job flexibility is a global phenomenon.
Regus, a worldwide provider of flexible workspaces for companies, canvassed more than 44,000 business people from more than 100 countries. It found 61 percent of respondents said the need to improve work-life balance is driving an increase in flexible working. Almost half say the wish to work closer to home is also a key factor.
A recent Ernst and Young report said workers do not expect to have to sacrifice their career prospects for the sake of improved work-life balance and want to be able to work flexibly but still be on track for promotion.
A Bentley University study of millennials found more than 3 in 4 surveyed said flexible hours would make them more productive and 39 percent want more remote work, so more companies are responding, according to Flexjobs. However, nearly 1 in 3 worry that their desire for workplace flexibility is often mistaken for a poor work ethic.
5 ways job flexibility is changing
Flexjobs recently unveiled five findings that could help you find better work-life balance.
- Occasional telecommuting is on the rise. Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll shows that the average professional will telecommute two days per month. A FlexJobs survey found that of those who telecommuted in 2014, 22 percent telecommuted more in 2015 than the previous year.
- The amount of at-home employees continues to increase steadily. GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com analyzed work-at-home population data since 2005 and reports a 103 percent growth in telecommuting, with a 6.5 percent increase in 2014 alone. More than 3 out of 4 people surveyed by FlexJobs said that when they need to get important work done, they avoid the office.
- Organizations don’t monitor return on investment (ROI) when it comes to flexible work. Although 9 in 10 organizations support workplace flexibility, a FlexJobs and World at Work study says, 64 percent of companies don’t have formal policies around these programs. Only 3 percent of organizations measure performance, engagement and productivity to quantify ROI.
- Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce. In 2015, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, millennials surpassed generation X to become the largest share of a generation in the workforce. According to another survey by FlexJobs, 85 percent of millennials would prefer to telecommute full-time and seek flexible work options for more work-life balance.
- People want flexibility in their work for health reasons. A FlexJobs survey found that 32 percent of respondents in 2015 said that flexible work would impact their health in a positive manner compared with 29 percent in 2013; 29 percent in 2015 said they would like flexible work for more time to exercise compared with 20 percent in 2013.
Where the flexible jobs are
After reviewing more than 100,000 flexible job listings posted in the past year, FlexJobs compiled 50 of the most surprising flexible job titles in 2015. They ranged from entry level to executive level and spanned industries such as science, education, law, health care, sports, food, communications and nonprofit. Locations range from Beijing and Brisbane to Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.
“One of the main reasons we highlight these jobs is that most people believe that jobs that offer work flexibility are exclusively low-level, unskilled, and unprofessional — whereas the truth is there are fantastic jobs in all industries and for almost any career path,” Sutton Fell said.
Among the top 50 surprises, by 10 industries:
- Nonprofit and Philanthropy: Organic Handler Certification Specialist
- Science and Pharma: Senior Marine Scientist
- Sports and Leisure: Virtual PE/Health Teacher
- Medical and Health: Child Welfare Practice Leader Vice President
- Education: Career Pastry Chef Instructor
- Law and Government: Senior Air-to-Ground Operations Executive
- Business: Director of Talent Acquisition
- Food: Chocolatier
- Writing, Editing and Communication: Comic Book Layout Artist
- Entertainment and Media: Cruise Captain
To see more jobs on the list, click here.
To find real work-from-home jobs and avoid scams, see this Money Talks News’ report.
What do you want to achieve in 2016? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.