What Makes a Tech Job "Flexible"?

What Makes a Tech Job "Flexible"?

Technology jobs -- especially within the emerging startup culture -- are well known for their flexibility and perks, but every company has its own unique take on what flexibility means for its employees. It might include unlimited vacation time, telecommuting from another state or country, work from home capabilities, or the flexibility to pursue your outside passions.

We talked to people in the tech industry to get a better idea of what a flexible job in tech looks like, and the results varied.

Flex Hours

The most common perk of flexible jobs is a unique work schedule that doesn’t conform to the typical 9-5 mentality. Whether it means making your own schedule, or being able to work out of a set timeframe, it allows employees to schedule their work around their personal needs.

As Tim Arnold, CEO of Fyre, points out, "Responsibilities vary with the type of services rendered for flexible tech jobs. Traditional companies are also beginning to utilize flex hours for its employees. The company usually has core hours where the team is together for collaboration and necessary meetings. At Fyre, we meet from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and consider the rest of the workday as flextime. This tends to work well because employee gets the benefits of a flexible schedule while the managers can still ensure things are humming along and necessary collaboration is happening."

Great for Self-Motivated Workers

One of they key qualities for anyone interested in a flexible job is that they have to be very self-motivated. The general attitude of flexible employers is that as long as your work is getting done, they aren’t too concerned with where you are or what you are doing.

Ashley Schwartau is the Creative Director and Head of Production at The Security Awareness Company, a company that takes flexibility seriously, “All of us work remotely and while we mostly operate and deal with clients on a 9-5 schedule, the main benefit of this job is that we have unlimited flexibility in terms of schedule, days off, etc. There's no limit to vacation days, sick days, etc. and for my team, as long as they meet their deadlines and give me things when I need them, I don't care when they work.”

Bring Your Kids to Work

Busy parents know that one of the biggest benefits to a flexible work schedule is the ability to work around their children’s schedules. Having kids can mean unexpected sick days, appointments, school vacations, and afterschool activities. These might not always fit into a rigid 9-5 schedule, so having an employer who understands the needs of a parent can be important to job seekers with children.

Donna Campbell of Right Brain Networks can speak to her company’s child-friendly workplace. In addition to remote work, a flexible schedule, and unlimited vacation time, parents can bring their kids to the office when necessary. “Unless they're on call, our engineers have a pretty flexible schedule. We are a super kid-friendly office as well – kids hang out here on occasion during the work day.”

Out of State or Overseas

Brenna at Todoist points out how remote work has allowed her company to hire outside of Todoist’s location, “We have more than 3 million users, and approximately 30 people on our team working remotely from Poland, to Peru to the

Philippines. Since day one, Todoist has been hiring people not based on where they live, but on the merit of their work. This has allowed us to develop our company following Lean Startup principles and has also allowed us to be profitable since our creation. Hiring the right people for the job without knowing in person them is a challenge, but it's one that we mitigate by having a strong corporate culture and by having veteran team members evaluate each potential candidate, searching for cultural clues that would indicate a person's success in our company. This has allowed us to have an extremely low turn-over and to cultivate a rich, horizontal hierarchy, no matter where our team members are located.”

For Arielle Shack, flexibility means the ability to work for a company in Tel Aviv, Israel from her NYC location. “Right after college, I started working at an agency called Blonde 2.0 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Israel was a great place to get into technology because it's a huge startup hub. When I moved back to the NYC area, startups in Israel began contacting me to help them with their crowd funding campaigns and I turned my tech PR talents into a remote position.”

Where to find flexible jobs?

It’s likely that you’ve seen spammy “work from home” jobs while browsing the Internet; these are especially rampant in the comment sections of articles, promising to clue you into how their friend made X amount of money per week without leaving the house. But don’t let these scams discourage you, there are certainly legitimate flexible jobs out there, it just a certain approach to how you do your job research.

Try searching for key words such as work from home, telecommute, telecommuting, remote, and home-based. On reliable sites, such as Monster, these jobs are a safe bet as flexible job options. And don’t rule out a listing you find that doesn’t explicitly state that it is a remote job. Plenty of companies are now flexible in their schedules, and if you impress them, they might be willing to negotiate flex hours or a more relaxed schedule to work around your needs.

There are also websites dedicated to staffing flexible jobs and connecting these modern employers with the right employees. For example, Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs knows how important the growth in flexible jobs is for employers.

"The opportunity to work remotely in all industries, and in particular the tech industry, has grown tremendously over the last few years. We've been tracking over 100 industries offering flexible and remote job listings on FlexJobs for several years now, and Computer & IT jobs are always among the top five industries for remote and flexible jobs, month after month. Software and web development flexible jobs are also plentiful, consistently landing within the top ten industries. In December 2014, for example, Computer & IT jobs ranked at #5 for industries offering flexible and remote jobs. Software came in at #11, just shy of the top ten.”

Some companies hiring on Monster with remote, telecommuting, and flexible jobs include Dell, CyberCoders, Texas Instruments, United Health Group, and Wells Fargo among a number of other large -- and small -- businesses. Job titles range form software engineer, business analyst, and senior IT database analyst, just to name a few. 

Interested in a more flexible work schedule in tech? Search openings on Monster to find the right fit for you.