When you’re slogging through the work week, desperately wishing that Friday afternoon would roll around, it can be easy to forget that the 40-hour work week was passed into law for our benefit. We used to work even more! And yet, even acknowledging that fact, there’s no denying that for some people, the 9-5 lifestyle simply isn’t a good fit. They yearn for more freedom, more independence, different scenery. If you’re one of those people, good news: these alternatives are for you!
With smartphones, laptops, tablets, email, instant messaging, video conferencing, and virtual private networks now commonplace, many companies have finally embraced remote work environments. In fact, nearly a quarter of all professionals now complete some or all of their work from home. If you are seeking an alternative to a traditional 9-5 workplace, a remote working environment may be the perfect solution – all of the benefits of full-time employment are typically on offer, but you have some flexibility in setting your own schedule and completing your daily tasks. When interviewing (or researching new positions), inquire about working remotely. You’ll likely find that a remote workplace offers everything you’re seeking, and remote positions may be easier to find than you think.
Seek Out Flexible Work Environments
If you aren’t able to find a company that offers remote work, then you may be able to find the next best thing: a flexible work environment where you set your schedule. Thankfully, you’re in luck, as more and more companies are embracing this approach. Yes, you’ll still be expected to go into the office, and likely between Monday and Friday. But being able to take long lunches, arrive later in the day, and leave early when you need to can be a huge weight off your shoulders, and reduce your stress and anxiety in the process. Many of the pressures and hardships involved in a typical 9-5 job stem from the rigid workplace rules. With a flex job, that rigidity doesn’t pose a problem because for the most part, it doesn’t exist.
Seek Roles with Open Hours
In addition to remote work and flex jobs, it’s also possible to find a role where the job duties themselves are flexible. Being an event manager, salesperson, teacher, public servant (e.g., firefighter, police officer), or on-call nurse, for example, will find you doing something different each and every day that you show up to work. Your hours may vary week in and week out, and your daily tasks will likely never be the same more than two days in a row. If you are someone who likes a challenge, is seeking a change of scenery or change of pace, and finds repetition boring and monotonous, you may want to pursue such a career. It could provide the intellectual stimulation – and independence – that you need.
Work for Yourself
For the ultimate in flexibility, independence, and excitement, nothing can beat working for yourself. Certainly entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but for those people who are drawn to business ownership, it may be the only thing that works for them. Of course, working for yourself doesn’t mean that you have to incorporate with your local state government or create your own LLC. You could freelance, sell goods on Etsy, start your own business with a company like Amway, or work as a consultant or independent contractor. That’s the great thing about working for yourself: you are in control. One thing is for certain, however; you won’t be stuck in a boring 9-5 job, fighting traffic every morning as you make your way into work!
Say Goodbye to Monday through Friday
Working in a cubicle from 9:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening – with 30 minutes for lunch and two 10-minute breaks – simply isn’t for everyone. For some people, a greater degree of flexibility and freedom is needed for peace of mind and personal fulfillment. And who can blame them? If you’re one of those people, give one of these alternatives to the 9-5 lifestyle a shot. You have little to risk and everything to gain. At a minimum, you’ll find the effort rewarding, and likely a pleasant distraction to boot. And of course, you might just be able to say goodbye to your typical Monday-Friday job forever. Wouldn’t that be nice?