Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
What does your dream workday look like? Do you wake up refreshed, free from the stress of rush-hour traffic? Do you enjoy a morning cup of coffee on your porch before beginning a rewarding day of work, all without leaving the house?
To make that dream a reality, you need to find a job with a company that supports flexible work and work-life balance.
Unfortunately, companies aren’t always transparent about their flexible work policies.
You can ask about flexible work during the interview, but at that point, if the company says no, you’ve already invested a lot of time in tailoring your resume, applying, and interviewing, only to find out the company doesn’t offer the work-life balance you need.
Instead, incorporate your search for work-life balance into your job research before applying. You’ll avoid wasting time on roles that don’t meet your needs.
And luckily, it’s not too hard to figure out a company’s view on flexible work when you know where to look.
Investigate the Company Culture
Your first stop? Gather information while you’re getting a big-picture overview of the company culture.
Review the Company’s Website
You might get the answers you need on the company’s website. You’re looking for any references to flexible work policies or support for work-life balance.
Generally, that information can be found on the company’s career page, along with a list of other benefits to help attract top talent. Mentions of home office or internet stipends are a good sign!
Otherwise, you might find what you need with a bit more digging. Read employee testimonials that are showcased. Do they praise the benefits of their work arrangements?
You can also do a quick search for press releases or blog posts highlighting flexible work or employer accolades they’ve received.
Check Out Employee Reviews
If the company pages don’t turn up anything, current and former employees can give you the scoop. Fortunately, break room chatter has gone digital, and connecting with employees is easier than ever.
Thanks to technology, it’s easy for employees to air grievances or share their delight with a company. Online employee opinions and review sites can give you a peek behind the scenes.
You’ll need to scan through the details. For example, an employee sharing appreciation for the ability to work and travel is a good indicator that the company supports working from anywhere.
Note that flexibility can vary by role, and watch for recurring themes in the reviews. If flexibility is a consistent theme one way or the other, that’s a good signal for you to make an informed decision.
Also, note when the reviews were made, as policies evolve over time and with changes in leadership.
Dig Through Social Media Pages
Harness your inner Sherlock Holmes and become a social media detective. Look through the company’s LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook pages.
Start by looking for posts about current job listings. Be sure to check the comments to see if your question has already been asked and answered.
Beyond job listings, you can look for posts supporting flexible work in general.
For example, a post stating something like, “Many executives are expressing concern over the productivity of remote workers. However, we’ve found the exact opposite to be the case.” That’s a great sign that the company might offer the flexibility you need.
Research the Company’s Accolades
Maybe someone else has done the work for you. Has the company been recognized on FlexJobs’ annual list of the Top 100 Companies to Watch for Remote Jobs? Fantastic! Those are the crème de la crème of remote companies.
Any honors or awards related to flexibility can give you a feel for the company’s culture and signal that they should move a little further up on your list of dream companies.
Analyze the Job Listings
You might be able to find what you need by analyzing the job listing a bit more carefully, looking for flexibility-related keywords and a few other key signals.
Note Where Jobs Are Posted
On the other hand, most job sites present a mix of traditional and flexible work opportunities. You’ll need to spend more time researching listings on those sites.
To save time, focus your search on niche job sites devoted to flexibility.
Examine Job Postings for Flexibility-Related Keywords
Even if the posting doesn’t go into great detail about its flexibility, you can look for flexibility-related keywords.
These keywords and phrases are the most common:
- Flexible schedule
- Work from home
- Work from anywhere
Be mindful that there’s a wide variety of work arrangements within those job descriptors, and the job description might not explicitly detail if the position offers the flexibility you need.
But finding details that you can clarify during an interview can feel more comfortable than asking about flexibility when it’s not mentioned at all.
Identify Job Titles
Tying in with that tip, look for nuances in the job title itself.
For example, a virtual assistant role indicates a virtual (or remote) job, while an executive assistant posting could be in-office, remote, or hybrid — a combination of the two.
Network With Current and Former Employees
If none of those methods have given you the answers you need, it’s time to level up your networking game.
Start With LinkedIn
Where should you look first when you need to connect in the professional world? LinkedIn!
LinkedIn can be a gold mine of information. You can network with hiring managers and employees. And if you’ve never tried to connect with a stranger on LinkedIn before, it’s easier than it seems.
Start by sending a personalized message. Introduce yourself or engage with a post they’ve shared.
Share your interest in the company they work for and ask open-ended questions about how the organization supports work-life balance, as well as their personal experiences.
Attend Industry Events
While LinkedIn is often the easiest networking option, it’s certainly not the only one.
If you have enough time before the post closes or you’re simply working on researching the company, look for conferences, virtual hiring fairs, and networking mixers. You never know when a casual conversation might yield the inside scoop you need.
Local business associations, the Chamber of Commerce, trade shows, or even your alumni association are all great places to start. You can also consider sites like Meetup or local Facebook groups to find events.
Finding the Flexibility You Need
Uncovering a company’s commitment to flexible work before the interview process can save you massive time and energy in your job search.
With these tips, you’re ready to identify organizations that support a flexible work environment. Finding the best job fit can take a bit of perseverance, but it’s well worth it