Jobs offering work-from-home options and flexible hours are sought by workers ranging from parents who want to be there when the kids get home from school to employees tired of daily commutes. But what types of occupations offer this type of arrangement? More fields than you may think. Below, meet all kinds of people who are living outside the 9-to-5 cubicle.
While authors up all night to get their vision into words have been around for ages, computers and mobile phones have opened up that lifestyle to others. Copywriters, editors, researchers, translators and even public relations directors can use their laptops and cell phones to work virtually anywhere at any time.
Technology has created new communications positions, too. Lisa Gordon of Needham, Mass., is co-founder of Catcher in the Sky, a business that develops applications for the iPhone. "Both my partner and I are moms of elementary-school-aged children, so flexibility is a must," Gordon says. "I have chosen to work for myself and to be accountable only to my partner. We drive each other to do our best and are also understanding of family needs that arise."
James Larson works as a social media assistant for The Corporate Educator, a company in Wallingford, Conn. "Essentially, my position is to maximize the presence of our business on various media outlets," Larson says. "I respond to blogs, interact with customers and am even beginning to develop sales leads as well."
"I manage the domestic and international sales for a lumber manufacturing company headquartered in Charlottesville, Va." says Bo Hammond, a vice president with Coastal Lumber Co. "With technology, remote access and smart phones, my hours are flexible. Work from home is accepted. The motivation is to get the job done. For my specific job, that is being accessible, whether in the office or remotely."
3. Support services
Getting things done is the bottom line for many companies, so typists, transcribers, data entry workers and payroll organizers are often free to work on-site or off -- as long as they complete assignments.
Charles Viagas of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., sets his own hours as an independent contractor with LiveOps, a virtual call center company that enables workers to take customer service calls at their home. The arrangement allows him to schedule hours around his wife's job and to be an active caretaker for his two young children.
College professors often have been able to pick the times they teach, and online schools have taken this freedom even further. Other flexible positions include substitute teachers, textbook developers and tutors.
As an educational consultant, Sara Lise Raff of New York City performs a variety of duties. "I am basically a freelancer who has clients that range from individuals (usually parents) to not-for-profits to schools," Raff says. "I am generally asked to write curriculums, help with educational grant applications, create and facilitate workshops, evaluate and hire staff and act as a sounding board. I love what I do and can usually create a convenient schedule that allows me to be around for my three kids most of the time."
5. Artists and designers
One such artist is Steven Kubien of Ajax, Ontario. He is a full-time wood-turner who creates everything from pepper grinders to cremation urns for Green Leaf Wood Studio. He also is a stay-at-home dad who schedules his studio time around his family.
Barbara McCandless is employed by Closet Factory in Virginia Beach, Va. "I design and sell custom storage of all kinds -- closets, home offices, wall units, entertainment centers, kitchen pantries, laundry rooms and garage systems," McCandless says. "Each month I submit a calendar on which I indicate my availability to take design appointments. I work full time, but I am free to X-out times that I need for personal appointments, vacations, etc."
One last art for consideration: comedy. "You won't find a more flexible job than that of a comedian," says Dan Nainan, who left his job as a senior computer engineer to pursue his dream. "Our actual scheduled work takes perhaps less than one hour a day, and the rest of the time is spent marketing our product and improving it. The hours for that are completely, utterly flexible."