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Career flexibility

Explore ways in which you can make the most of your career path and find one that works for you. Learn how financial independence helps you.

Whether you're looking for a better work-life balance or have other pressing issues to look after, having an option to be able to work in a way that suits your lifestyle and needs is important.  Financial independence can influence and, in some cases, help you achieve career flexibility. In the past, people craved for the security and sense of loyalty from working for a single employer throughout their career.

Nowadays, both employers and employees appreciate the benefits of being able to work in several flexible ways. Throughout your career, one or more of these flexible ways of working may appeal to you:
Name What is it? Who might it suit?
Flexi hours Flexible hours enable employees to amend their workday start and end times. Employees often work the same number of hours overall each day/week, but have the option to choose flexible hours that suit their own lifestyle or commitments.
  • People with other interests outside work
  • People with family or other commitments that they need to fit alongside work
  • People striving to achieve a better work-life balance
Zero hours With a zero hours contract, there are no guaranteed hours to work. They give people the opportunity to work without having to give up other commitments, and the option to turn down work if they prefer to.
  • People seeking flexible, occasional or part-time employment
  • Students studying full-time or part-time
  • Parents balancing work commitments with raising children
Consultancy When an employee acquires specific skills or knowledge in their field, they might choose to become self-employed and sell their skills or knowledge to other organisations that need them on a consultancy basis.
  • People who want to work for themselves, but who don't necessarily want to start a business
  • People wanting to work hours to suit them, rather than a fixed working day
Starting a business Thousands of entrepreneurs start businesses each year, motivated by the prospect of being in charge of their own destiny, making a profit and the satisfaction of growing something successful and independent.
  • Entrepreneurially minded people who want to be their own boss
Portfolio career A portfolio career is one which consists of a range of individual pursuits, each of which provide an income stream. It might involve a number of part time jobs, or a blend of freelance work, consulting, and other personal projects.
  • People making a long-term lifestyle choice
  • People who want to be able to choose how and when they work
Nowadays, both employers and employees appreciate the benefits of being able to work in several flexible ways. Throughout your career, one or more of these flexible ways of working may appeal to you:
Name Flexi hours Flexi hours
What is it? Flexible hours enable employees to amend their workday start and end times. Employees often work the same number of hours overall each day/week, but have the option to choose flexible hours that suit their own lifestyle or commitments. Flexible hours enable employees to amend their workday start and end times. Employees often work the same number of hours overall each day/week, but have the option to choose flexible hours that suit their own lifestyle or commitments.
Who might it suit?
  • People with other interests outside work
  • People with family or other commitments that they need to fit alongside work
  • People striving to achieve a better work-life balance
  • People with other interests outside work
  • People with family or other commitments that they need to fit alongside work
  • People striving to achieve a better work-life balance
Name Zero hours Zero hours
What is it? With a zero hours contract, there are no guaranteed hours to work. They give people the opportunity to work without having to give up other commitments, and the option to turn down work if they prefer to. With a zero hours contract, there are no guaranteed hours to work. They give people the opportunity to work without having to give up other commitments, and the option to turn down work if they prefer to.
Who might it suit?
  • People seeking flexible, occasional or part-time employment
  • Students studying full-time or part-time
  • Parents balancing work commitments with raising children
  • People seeking flexible, occasional or part-time employment
  • Students studying full-time or part-time
  • Parents balancing work commitments with raising children
Name Consultancy Consultancy
What is it? When an employee acquires specific skills or knowledge in their field, they might choose to become self-employed and sell their skills or knowledge to other organisations that need them on a consultancy basis. When an employee acquires specific skills or knowledge in their field, they might choose to become self-employed and sell their skills or knowledge to other organisations that need them on a consultancy basis.
Who might it suit?
  • People who want to work for themselves, but who don't necessarily want to start a business
  • People wanting to work hours to suit them, rather than a fixed working day
  • People who want to work for themselves, but who don't necessarily want to start a business
  • People wanting to work hours to suit them, rather than a fixed working day
Name Starting a business Starting a business
What is it? Thousands of entrepreneurs start businesses each year, motivated by the prospect of being in charge of their own destiny, making a profit and the satisfaction of growing something successful and independent. Thousands of entrepreneurs start businesses each year, motivated by the prospect of being in charge of their own destiny, making a profit and the satisfaction of growing something successful and independent.
Who might it suit?
  • Entrepreneurially minded people who want to be their own boss
  • Entrepreneurially minded people who want to be their own boss
Name Portfolio career Portfolio career
What is it? A portfolio career is one which consists of a range of individual pursuits, each of which provide an income stream. It might involve a number of part time jobs, or a blend of freelance work, consulting, and other personal projects. A portfolio career is one which consists of a range of individual pursuits, each of which provide an income stream. It might involve a number of part time jobs, or a blend of freelance work, consulting, and other personal projects.
Who might it suit?
  • People making a long-term lifestyle choice
  • People who want to be able to choose how and when they work
  • People making a long-term lifestyle choice
  • People who want to be able to choose how and when they work

Flexible working and its effect on your finances

People who work flexibly often do so as a lifestyle choice, and they enjoy their ability to earn a living whilst:

  • Being able to spend more time with their family
  • Caring for loved ones
  • Pursuing another hobby or interest alongside their work
  • Volunteering or doing other charity work

In many cases, they value their flexibility more than the salary they earn. Nevertheless, people who work flexibly are often able to earn as much, or more, than people who work more conventionally. However, you will need to be disciplined financially. Your income might fluctuate from month to month, and it may require some effort to put aside surplus funds in good months so that you can meet all your expenses in leaner months. Many flexible workers would argue that this is a small price to pay for the improved work-life balance they gain.

If your income does fluctuate throughout the year, it can also make planning your long term finances or retirement more challenging. If career flexibility is your lifestyle choice, it can result in having a smaller savings fund for your retirement.

You may find the following article helpful: Plan for your future

In a nut shell, flexible working might appeal to you as a lifestyle choice or because of other priorities or commitments in your life that you need to accommodate alongside work. Whatever the reason, it's a good idea to weigh up the benefits you might achieve (better work-life balance) with the financial implications that come with it.

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