Due to several factors – including the ageing population and a post-pandemic world – our ideas and approach to work and the workplace are rapidly changing, calling for employers to think outside of the box and offer more flexible arrangements.
Furthermore, the notion of a ‘job for life’ has faded in the last decade. We are living longer than ever yet have an outdated approach to life that sees it in three limiting stages – education, career and retirement. When in fact, our work shows that some people don’t want to retire, others are retiring and then coming out of retirement on a part-time basis, and some people want to change careers, start a new business or pursue another purpose later in life.
While it’s very easy to fall into the trap of only thinking of “work” as the bog-standard 9 to 5 job comprised of four weeks of holiday a year and the occasional long weekend, it doesn’t have to be so rigid. Things are starting to change and flexibility can be yours. There is plenty of help you can access, including support to change careers, retrain and upskill, and work for a just a few months are year.
The reality is types of work come in all shapes and sizes and you can find what works best for you. Do you want a part-time job with a four-day weekend? Go for it! How about a flexible contract with volunteer work on the side? It’s all yours!
A Guide to the Types of Work
Here we look at a complete guide to the different types of work: from part-time to flexible and everything in between.
1. Full-Time Work Options
Full-time employees typically work a set number of hours a week and are usually paid a salary. This means that you are not paid on an hourly basis and receive a stable, fixed income.
- Reliable income regardless of the exact number of hours you worked that week. This means that your pay won’t be docked for taking a long lunch break or leaving an hour earlier from work for whatever reason: pretty cushy, eh?
- Salary based pay is typically reserved for individuals who hold higher positions within a company.
2. Part-Time Work Options
Part-time work refers to employees who typically work less than 30 hours a week. Part-time workers are more likely to be paid hourly. Working reduced hours in a week means that you can enjoy more time off or even have multiple jobs on the go. As a part time employee, you are still eligible for minimum wage and statutory sick pay.
- You can gain experience in multiple fields at once
- Increased flexibility
- Increased time off
Read our guide to the 10 best part-time jobs for more information.
3. Flexible Work Options
Flexible work refers to a broad range of jobs. Essentially, flexible work means that both your hours and your pay can change from week to week.
Examples of flexible work include:
- Online tutoring
- Uber driver
Also, most self-employed jobs could be classed as flexible as it is up to you how much you work.
Flexible jobs are also often flexible in terms of location: you aren’t tied down to a specific region. For example, tutoring students online doesn’t require you to be in any particular place; just so long as you have a laptop and a desire to educate, you’re good to go!
4. Volunteer Work Options
Volunteer work is the only type of work on our list that is not paid. Often one might volunteer at a charitable organisation or a local school, with the intent of giving back to the community.
Volunteer work is paramount to helping those in need. It can also provide you with a good outlet to stay integrated within your community when you retire.
5. Temporary Work Options
Temporary work, as the name suggests, refers to employees who are hired on a short-term basis. Employers may take on temporary workers for a variety of reasons. For example, you may be covering for a full-time employee who is on extended leave. Alternatively, you may be taking on seasonal work such as working in retail during the busy Christmas period.
Such jobs are excellent for workers who only want to work for a short period of time in any given role.
6. On-Call Work Options
On-call work is a type of work that requires employees to be available for certain hours of the week. One example of such work is an on-call firefighter. On-call firefighters make themselves available for a certain number of hours per week. For example, if you were to be on-call for 15 hours a week, then you don’t necessarily work any of those hours. You simply make yourself available so that, if a fire were to break out, you’d be able to rush in from wherever you were and put it out. You receive pay based on the number of hours you are on-call for and you are also eligible for overtime if required.
7. Fixed-Term Contract Work
Fixed-term contract work is when an individual worker or group of workers are hired for a fixed period to complete a specific task. For example, when construction workers are hired for a particular job, they will often be on fixed-term contracts that expire once the task is complete.
8. Zero-Hour Contract Work
Zero-hour contracts are otherwise known as casual contracts. Zero-hour workers are not guaranteed to get work in any given week and so your hours will vary depending on the employer’s needs. Zero-hour workers are not entitled to the statutory minimum notice and so can be dismissed at any point.
9. Agency Work Options
Agency work is when employers work for an agency and work for many different companies as and when they are required. For example, if a retail company is short-staffed, then they will reach out to an agency to get a temporary worker to fill in.
The agency is responsible for making sure that the employee is treated fairly in the workplace. After 12 weeks in the same role the worker is entitled to all the same rights as any other worker in that company. You are likely to work for many different companies in short periods of time as an agency worker.
10. Passive Income Work Options
The final item to address is not necessarily a type of work per se. However, generating passive income has many of the same characteristics of other work types: namely, it generates income!
Passive income refers to income that you receive without having to invest significant time or money into it. For example, if you were to write a book, then the money you make from the sale of that book would be classed as passive income, as you don’t have to put in work once the book has been published.
Other examples include renting out property and selling an online course: once you put in the initial work, you can sit back and watch the money roll in.