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Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Flexible Work Schedule



Are you sick of the 9-5 grind? You know, they say the grass is always greener on the other side. But, is it really? Someone who works flexible hours and has to work on a Saturday night might love the idea of sitting behind a desk and being done by 5 pm on Friday.

Most people are familiar with what a 9-5 job feels like. Let’s take a look at what the flexible work hours lifestyle is like and see if it’s really all it’s cracked up to be.

The Pros

Time: When your time is not so strictly blocked off, you have more time to do things that matter in your personal life. Whether you’re a single parent who needs the time to take care of your kids, or you just feel like having more “Me-time,” working flexible hours is a great way to do it.

Less Commuting: The benefits of cutting down (or out) a commute cannot be overstated. Not only will it save you money – whether you drive or use public transportation – but it will save you energy as well. A long commute can be especially draining. Not having to deal with it is a major benefit.

Autonomy: There’s something cathartic about being able to do what you need to do when you want to do it (within reason, of course). Maybe you don’t do your best work at 9 AM. Maybe you are the most productive at 1:48 AM when most people are sleep and you have fewer distractions. The freedom to make that choice could shine through in your work.

Emergencies: When you have a flexible schedule, it is easier to move things around in case something comes up. This is especially helpful for working parents.



The Cons

Sometimes when a job is described as having flexible hours, what they really mean is that it has irregular hours. If you are a structured person, not knowing when you’ll be expected to work week to week can be extremely stressful. It also makes making plans a lot more difficult.

There are also times when flexible means on-call. Being on-call 24/7 is often a much bigger commitment than people realize when they choose to take it on. It sounds great until you get a call at 2 AM with a project that needs your immediate attention. Can you ever truly relax under those circumstances?

If those flexible hours involve working from home, the personal/professional time boundaries can begin to blur. It creates an environment where you never HAVE to work but you also kind of always have to work. The whole point of the boundaries of set hours being gone is that…Well, the boundaries of set hours are gone.

There’s also something of a social consequence to seeming free all the time. People are probably going to ask you to do stuff. From their point of view, you have all the time in the world, so why wouldn’t you want to help them out. They don’t realize that your “free” time isn’t free time. It can also be difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it themselves.

All things considered, it really comes down to what kind of person you are. If you like the structure of a regular schedule, that’s great. If you want the freedom of a more flexible schedule, that great too. Just know what you’re signing up for before you do it. Being unhappy with your work arrangement will cause you a lot of undue stress.

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