What Kind of Schedule Should You Expect When You Work at Home?

What Kind of Schedule Should You Expect When You Work at Home?

One of the major reasons people want to work at home is to have a flexible schedule. The problem is that not all home based jobs are as flexible as you might hope. Some are downright strict about their scheduling in fact. When you work from home for someone else, your schedule is often subject to their needs. Some have more flexible needs, while others need more of a routine from you.

Full Time, Regular Business Hours Work

Some employers will expect you not only work full time, but to stick to regular business hours, starting about 8 or so in the morning, finishing around 5. Things such as picking the kids up from school that many people want to do when they work at home, may not be possible at these jobs. Childcare of some sort is probably a necessity, so that you won’t have too many distractions. Then again, that’s a good idea for most work at home positions.

The good: You know when you’ll work. You might sometimes have overtime, but that’s true at many jobs. You’re working full time, but you don’t have to worry about horrible traffic during your commute.

The bad: It’s not flexible. You can’t decide to start work when it pleases you.

work at home scheduling

Full Time, Off Hours Work

Some jobs are full time, but the hours are nontraditional, maybe late night or early morning, but still a fairly regular schedule. These jobs can be great if they match with your preferred work hours or make it possible for you to work when the kids are asleep rather than pay for childcare.

The good: If you need to work slightly nontraditional hours but also want a predictable schedule, you may enjoy working an off hours schedule.

This may be a help if you need to drop children off at school or pick them up, or if you just like working different hours from the traditional schedule.

The bad: It may involve working overnight, which may not suit you. The schedule may be set up more to accommodate people working at the main office rather than remote workers wherever they may be.

Full Time, Flexible Hours

Other employers want a full time schedule out of you, but when you work may be more up to you. If you need to change things up, they don’t mind so long as your work gets done. There may still be scheduled meetings that you have to attend online. Communication and collaboration are important, after all.

The good: If you have obligations during the day, you can still meet them, so long as you work enough hours. That’s great for parents of school-age children, so long as the kids don’t interrupt you while you’re working.

The bad: Flexible hours doesn’t always mean flexible in your favor. Sometimes it means you work the hours your employer needs you, not the hours you want to work.

Part Time, Regular Hours

Many part time work at home jobs still require that you work a regular schedule. You have your days and times to work, and that’s when you work. If you need to change your schedule, you have to plan in advance with your boss, just like with an outside the home job.

The good: You know when you have to be at work.

The bad: The hours your employer wants you to work may not be the hours you would choose if you had the option.

wahm schedule

Part Time, Changing Schedule

Some part time work at home jobs expect you to follow a schedule, but you choose the schedule on a weekly or other basis. Once you’ve signed up for hours, you’re expected to work them, and if you need to make a change, make sure you clear it with management.

The good: If you get to pick your hours, you can select ones that work with your needs. Want to chaperone a field trip? Sign up for a schedule that allows it, and hope you get it.

The bad: You may not always get the schedule you want. Some employers may not be all that understanding if you have to make a change in the schedule you selected.

Part Time, Flexible Hours

Other part time home based jobs are more flexible. You may not have to report your schedule, just so long as you get the work done. Sometimes all you have to do is sign on when you’re ready to work, making for a super flexible job. If you can’t commit to a regular schedule, that’s a great thing.

The good: You need to run an errand? Do it! Work when you want.

The bad: Some jobs that let you pick your own schedule only have limited work available. If there’s nothing available when you sign on, you’re out of luck. It may be difficult to earn enough money in these cases.

100% Flexible Hours

Full time, part time, what’s that? Who cares about schedules?

Some jobs aren’t much concerned with when or how much you work, just that the work gets done. The challenge may be getting work when you’re ready, as some jobs like this have a bunch of employees, and if there’s no work available when you want to work, that’s just your tough luck.

The good: You can set up the schedule you want. That’s great if you prefer to break your day up more than usual.

The bad: They expect you to get how much done? By when? Sometimes the demands are high when you’re given a lot of control over your schedule. It’s also easy to work too many or too few hours for the needs of your job. Then again, you may be competing with others for available work,

Also, remember that some flexible jobs are flexible in favor of your employer’s needs, not yours. They may change your schedule to suit their needs, not yours.

schedule planning

On Call

Not all jobs really have a schedule as such. Sometimes you’re on call. There should be some sort of schedule for the days and times that you’re on call, but they may be pretty broad, depending on how much work comes of being called on. You have to be ready to work when your employer needs you.

The good: You know when you’re going to be on call in most cases, so you can plan around it to a degree.

The bad: You never know when you’re going to work or how much you’ll need to do. If a call comes in the middle of the night, you still have to handle it.

Know What’s Right For You

When you accept a work at home job, be sure that you can handle the schedule expected. Few things lose you a job like being unable to handle the expected workload.

Think carefully about what kind of schedule you can handle. Be realistic about the demands you expect on your time, especially if you have children or aging parents to care for. There are situations where working outside the home makes more sense, even if you want to work at home with all your heart.

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