A Glossary of Flexible Work Terms
If you’re thinking of saying sayonara to office life and starting a new chapter by working remotely, you’re not alone. But chances are as you’ve perused job listings, there might be some terminology that you’re just not familiar with. So forget about whipping out your Webster’s—here’s your glossary of flexible work terms to help you determine which arrangement is right for you.
For many people, a telecommuting job is a holy grail in the world of remote work. Essentially, telecommuting means that you can work from home and not have to go into the office unless otherwise indicated. (Goodbye cubicle life, annoying coworkers, and office drama!) And if you live in New Zealand but the job you really want is in New Jersey, you might be able to apply if the job description doesn’t require a location-specific job candidate.
But let’s say that you don’t mind schlepping into an office. It’s just the hellish rush hour traffic that you loathe. Well, an alternative schedule job might help solve that problem. In this flexible work arrangement, you will still most likely trek into an office, but at an adjusted arrival and departure time. So instead of starting at 9:00 a.m. (after being stuck in traffic for over an hour), you might shift your hours and start your workday at 7:30 a.m., and then leave at 3:30 p.m.—avoiding traffic and also being able to pick up your kids from school, too.
Much like its name implies, remote work is the work you do remotely (i.e., not in an office). Depending on the job, this might be done on a part-time or a full-time schedule.
Flexible schedules apply both to remote jobs as well as in-office positions and can shift and adapt to the needs of the worker. You might find that you need to leave the office earlier on some days, or even take a Friday off and work on the weekend instead to catch up. All of this is possible with a flexible schedule. Although flexible schedules are usually associated with telecommuting jobs, you might be able to find a traditional in-office job that allows you to have a flexible schedule. The good part is that a flexible schedule means that you can adapt your workday as needed without having to take a personal or sick day, or even potentially lose pay.
You don’t mind working outside your home—but you sure would like to have a shorter workweek. That’s where a compressed workweek comes into play. A compressed workweek is usually done at a workspace, and allows a worker to work longer hours four days a week (most likely Monday–Thursday), so that they can have the fifth day, Friday, totally free.
Want complete and total control over your work schedule? Try on freelancing for size. Freelance or contract work means that you get to choose exactly when you work, for whom you work, where you work, and for how long. Some freelancers will have more than one client at a time, and depending on the gigs, you might be able to earn a full-time salary just by freelancing. The caveat: unless you land longer freelance gigs or even semi-permanent ones, you’ll find yourself job searching more frequently as you look for new assignments.
By far the cool kids in the telecommuting world, digital nomads take remote work to the next level. They aren’t bound by their home offices (or even their own country, for that matter), as they traverse the globe and work at the same time. While some remote companies applaud the efforts of these digital nomads, other remote employers might not want an employee who in Mumbai one day, and Memphis the next.
Acronyms can be tough to translate. In this case, a R.O.W.E. stands for Results Only Work Environment. For a fair share of remote companies, this is how they operate. Instead of counting productivity by the amount of time workers spend behind the computer, a R.O.W.E.-based organization only counts the work produced. So if a project only took you three hours to complete, you don’t have to sit at your desk for eight hours.
We know what you’re thinking, and no, BYOD is, uh, not the same thing as BYOB. BYOD means Bring Your Own Device, which signifies that you will be using your own equipment (computer, laptop, scanner, phone, printer, and so on) in order to do your work effectively. Some remote companies will provide equipment to its workers (or even offer a stipend if they follow a BYOD policy). It’s something to take into consideration if your equipment is a little on the old or outdated side, and you are applying for a job that has a BYOD setup.
Work-from-Home Job, Work-at-Home Job, Remote Job
All of these terms mean the same thing; you will be able to work from home. But bear in mind that the first two (work-from-home and work-at-home) are often associated with job scams, so be careful and diligent when reading job descriptions to ensure that you’re applying for a legitimate position. After all, it’s estimated that for every one real work-at-home job, there are upwards of nearly 100 job scams. While it shouldn’t scare you off from applying for remote positions, it’s something to keep in mind and be aware of while you job search.
Hopefully this glossary of flexible work terms makes your job hunt clearer and easier as you find your way to flexible work—and work-life balance!
This post was written by Jennifer Parris, Career Writer for FlexJobs, an award-winning service that helps job-seekers find professional opportunities that offer work flexibility, such as telecommuting, freelance, part-time or alternative schedules. To learn more about Jennifer, visit FlexJobs.com or tweet @flexjobs.
Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons above.
Do You Need Help With ...