Want More Work-Life Balance? This Is the Most Flexible Job, According to a New Survey

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With work emails available at our fingertips at all times, it’s easy to lose out on work-life balance as our jobs squeeze their ways into our lives.

“It used to be that when you left the office, you left the office, and now there aren’t as many distinct boundaries,” says Manon DeFelice, founder and CEO of Inkwell, a staffing company that helps candidates find flexible jobs. “More people live in the gray, that space between home life and work.” (Related: Here are signs you’re more of a workaholic than you think.)

Glassdoor, a job site that posts company reviews, analyzed feedback to create a list of the top 29 careers with the best work-life balance. Corporate recruiters have the best work-life balance, with UX (user experience) designers as a close second, according to the Glassdoor findings. They both had an average work-life balance rating of 4.1 out of 5, compared to the average of 3.2 among all jobs.

Other jobs to reach a 4.0 rating include data scientist, strategy manager, user interface designer, recruiting coordinator, technical account manager, mobile developer, and development and operations engineer.

The site looked at the average work-life balance rating from jobs with a minimum of 75 reviews for at least that many companies, and included positions with at least 20 percent of reviews listing work-life balance as a pro of that occupation.

Some ways to hit a great work-life balance include working from home certain days, setting flexible hours, and getting more vacation time, says DeFelice.

While technology might make it tempting to stay preoccupied with work 24/7, it also makes it easier to get the schedule you want. “The traditional 9-to-5 office job is not really applicable anymore to the needs of workers,” says DeFelice. “That time isn’t ideal anymore, nor is it necessary because of technology like iPhones and FaceTime Skype, and all those tools that make office face time obsolete.”

In her experience, DeFelice says, startups tend to be more on the cutting edge of structuring their organizations around flexibility, but bigger companies are starting to join in too. Parents have historically been the ones asking for more flexibility, but now millennials are starting to look for it, whether they have kids or not. “If companies can’t attract and retain that pool of talent, they’re at a detriment,” she says. “Bigger companies are starting to adopt it, and if they don’t they’ll be dinosaurs.”

Averaging $71,161 a year, the 29 Glassdoor jobs with the best work-life balance had a wide range of salaries. Substitute teachers ranked 13th, with a median salary of $25,178, while data scientists made $112,000 at number 3 on the list.

If you’d like to stick with your job but want shorter hours or more days at home, you might need to take a pay cut, says DeFelice, but the reduced salary could be better than dropping out of the work force entirely because you won’t end up with a gap in your résumé. “If you work for less, you still have that experience, and your future income is higher,” says DeFelice. “If the employee values flexibility more than cash, why should the company give cash if they can give flexibility?”

Make a plan for the work you’ll accomplish with your ideal schedule, then ask your boss to give your proposal a trial period of a few months while you track your goals—start with these smart ways to get your boss to trust you—and look for a new job if your company can’t give you that flexibility. “To train and hire a new employee is expensive and time-consuming,” says DeFelice. “If you’re a valued employee, that employer would be foolish not to accommodate you.”

MORE: 7 Questions to Never Ask at a Job Interview

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.