- Jennifer Parris
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There’s nothing like the arrival of Spring to get you reassessing the various aspects of your life. From being a better partner, mother, and yes, professional, a new year is the clean slate that can help inspire you to craft the career (and life) you’ve always wanted. But let’s say that your days of a full-time, in-office, 9-5 job are over. Does that mean you have to face a killer commute again and run the risk of not being able to attend your child’s mid-day writing celebration? Not at all. In fact, there are many types of flexible work options to pursue that can give you the financial freedom you seek, the opportunity to do something that you love professionally, and the ability to still be the loving and involved mom you want to be. If you’re looking for a new job in the new year, here are five flexible work options to consider. Remote Work If you want to be able to work from your home office (and not have to trek into a traditional one), remote work could be a perfect fit for your life. A remote job can also go by the name of a telecommuting job, as well as a work-at-home job and a work-from-home job (although it’s important to note that the latter is sometimes associated with job scams). Although you’ll be able to, in theory, work from home with a remote job, there might be a location requirement that comes with the position. That means that if the job has headquarters in, say, Los Angeles, the company might look for remote workers who also live in the area. Remote work can be part-time or full-time, depending on the job. And although the job gives you the added advantage of not having to report for duty in a regular office place, you might still have set hours to work as you work from home. Flexible Scheduling But let’s say that you don’t mind clocking in at the office. You like the camaraderie that comes with working together in one space. What you don’t like, though, is being stuck in traffic for hours on end as you commute to and from the office. That’s where flexible scheduling comes in. With a flexible schedule job, you can adjust your schedule as necessary. This could mean starting (and ending!) your day earlier so that you can avoid traffic—and be able to be home when your child comes through the front door. Other times, it might mean being able to leave the office for a few hours so you can attend parent-teacher conferences, and then return to the office so you can finish your work for the day. If you’re perusing the job listings, look for job descriptions that include the terms “flexible” or “flexible schedule job” to ensure that you’ll be able to have the flexibility you need. Professional Part-Time Jobs If you thought that part-time jobs were only retail or customer service gigs, think again. There are many, many professional part-time jobs out there, both in-office and remote. A part-time job is any position that requires you to work 35 hours or less a week. Part-time jobs can be very popular with working parents, especially working moms, who are looking to balance work life and family life at the same time. And if you’re looking to on-ramp back into the workforce, a part-time position might be an easier transition than a full-time job to start. Freelance Gigs Of all the various types of workplace flexibility that exist, freelance jobs have them all beat. With a freelance job, you have the ultimate control in how you work, when you work, for which companies you’ll work, and so on. For example, you might decide that you want to work for only a few months starting in the new year, and then have the summer free so you can spend time with your kiddos. So you’ll look for a freelance job that is only for that time period—and that time period only. Freelance jobs can also go by the name of contract jobs, so keep that in mind during your job search. And freelance gigs can be done either in the office, at home, or both, depending upon the job’s duties, the company’s needs, and your own needs as well. Some people will work more than one freelance job at a time, and by doing so earn a full-time income. Compressed Workweeks Much like its name implies, a compressed workweek means working a full-time job—just in a shorter amount of time. Typically done in an office, a compressed workweek means you’ll work longer hours Monday-Thursday, for example, so that you can have Friday totally free. You’ll still get paid a full-time wage, but essentially only work four days a week. How you choose to spend your day off (i.e., working a freelance gig, spending time with your kiddos, or just relaxing) is totally up to you. Keep in mind that your flexible work options can be combined depending on both your needs and the companies that you work for. You might hold a full-time position during the week, and a freelance gig that fuels your passion on the weekends, or you might have two part-time jobs that equal one full-time salary, or a plethora of freelance gigs to keep you financially afloat. The first step in deciding what type of flexible work option you want is determining how much time you want to dedicate to a job, as well as your financial needs. (And if you’re already employed, find out from your company’s HR department about its flexible work policy, then schedule a meeting with your boss to ascertain how you can have more flex in your work life.) From there, you can pick and choose positions based on that criteria (you can use the FlexJobs company guide to find out which employers are flex-friendly!) so that you are doing work you love but not sacrificing family time, either. And that, fellow moms, is called work-life balance.