Flexible working: what it is and how to use it in the digital world

Flexible working”: how often have you heard of it, especially in recent years? Certainly a lot, and this is because although the first forms of flexible working started to take hold in the 1980s, it is mainly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic that flexible working has become a necessity.

So, what is the first quality you should have to juggle in this ever-changing universe? Flexibility! What does the expression ”flexible working” mean today? And above all, how do you work in digital marketing and what are the new professions?

In this article, I will try to explain everything that revolves around this topic by analyzing in particular:

  • what is flexible working
  • flexible contracts
  • the advantages of flexible working for the worker
  • the benefits of flexible working for the enterprise
  • flexible working and digital marketing: career outlets

Are you ready? Let’s dive into it!

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What is flexible working?

In the 1980s and 1990s, flexible working as we understand it today did not exist. Rather, the term ”flexible worker” was often used, which indicated a non-specialized worker who played a jolly role within the company. A polyvalent worker, therefore, alternates between different tasks.

With the advent of technology and the development of the Internet, flexible working has taken on a new meaning and new forms. Let us proceed step by step and see everything in detail to understand what flexible working is.

Definition of Flexibility

According to the dictionary, ”flexibility” refers to the quality of an object or material to adapt to the shape of another object and figuratively speaking, the ability to adapt to different situations or conditions.

In the workplace, flexibility takes the form of a theoretical concept whereby an individual changes their job and task several times during his or her life.

Hence, a flexible worker is a person who can adapt to a new work context based on the demands of the market and especially of the company. This is a person who is probably constantly updating his or her skills, and above all is enterprising and organized enough to be able to manage his or her work anywhere and at any time.

It is a fact that both people and companies today need the flexibility to adapt to a labor market characterized by sudden changes. On-call employment contracts have become widespread, protecting both company and worker subject to this intermittent employment demand.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, a disruptive phenomenon in the world of work, jobs that could be done remotely continued but many others that required interaction disappeared altogether. Those who lost their jobs in this way reinvented themselves and in 2020-2022 had to constantly change professions and sectors to recreate their balance. These are the flexible workers of the new millennium.

Characteristics of flexible working

The digital evolution together with the recent pandemic has radically changed the world of work: more and more people now re-evaluate their priorities and attach great importance to a true work-life balance.

For this reason, ”flexible work’‘ also becomes synonymous with the autonomous management of one’s work as regards working hours, location, and tasks. For some workers, therefore, job flexibility coincides with a change of working hours and location, while for others it coincides with a constant change of profession, hence of work task.

In both cases, the goal of flexible workers is to redefine their priorities, giving space to mental well-being that had recently been sidelined causing a widespread state of mental and physical malaise called ”burnout”. This is an issue that has been brought to the fore during the pandemic and has put the spotlight back on the need for every worker to be able to reconcile private and work life.

Let us now understand together what is meant by flexible working on a time and-day basis.

Flexibility daily and flexibility on an hourly basis

types of flexible working

What else can we deduce from the definition of flexible work? Certainly that the labor market has changed so much that employment status is no longer permanent but fixed.

This means that the forms of work that have developed most are precisely more variable. Thus, one speaks of flexible work daily, where the employee is called upon to be present at their workplace no longer five days a week, but only one or two. Or again, flexible working is understood to be on an hourly basis, i.e. no longer working eight-hour days in an office at a location away from one’s home.

Forms of hourly flexibility (or flexible working hours)

There are various forms of hourly flexibility available to workers:

  • flexibility in entry and exit: flexible workers do not have to comply with a specific entry and exit time, but can distribute their working time differently throughout the day, week or month, sticking only to predefined time slots;
  • concentrated hours: workers can leave the workplace early by giving up their lunch break;
  • co-presence: flexible workers are asked to be present during certain predefined time slots, but can autonomously define their entry and exit times, while still respecting the daily quota of hours;
  • island working: individual members of a group of workers engaged in the same task may be absent from time to time without any consequence on the quality of the service, which is instead guaranteed by all the others who continue to work.

The world of digital marketing, for which all you need is a computer and certified skills to work online from home, fits in with these particular contractual forms of flexible work.

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Flexible contracts

There are different types of flexible contracts depending on the needs of the worker and the company itself. Let us discover them together:

  • labor administration contract: the employment agency provides companies with fixed-term or open-ended workers that companies will use when they need them, reducing costs and time due to selection and recruitment. There is also the fixed-term or open-ended part-time contract that provides fewer hours per day than a full-time job;
  • fixed-term contracts: this is a flexible fixed-term employment contract that defines the overall duration of employment and ends with the expiry of the fixed term;
  • apprenticeship: an apprenticeship contract is an employment contract aimed at the training and employment of young people (aged between 15 and 29) for a minimum period of six months and a maximum period that varies according to the different types of apprenticeship;
  • intermittent or on-call contract: the so-called ”job on call” contract allows the owner to request the employee to work when needed. This type of work alternates between periods of activity and periods of inactivity in which the employee receives nothing, except if they have confirmed their availability for the call. In this case, the employee, while not working, receives the availability allowance;
  • self-employment: a contractual form that allows the worker to perform work in return for remuneration, but without any subordination to the principal;
  • occasional service contracts: allows companies and individuals to establish an occasional employment relationship.

The advantages of flexible working for the worker

Everything in life has its pros and cons, especially in the professional sphere. What everyone is aiming for, however, is a job that is so engaging that it never becomes a burden. Looking precisely in this direction, I will now tell you about the advantages of flexible working.

Growing motivation

Flexible working gives one a great deal of scope for managing one’s employment in terms of responsibility for one’s tasks, self-management, organization, and achievement of goals. This all adds up to significant and tangible motivational growth.

The satisfied, relaxed, and controlled employee will not only love his or her job more but will also contribute to the company’s growth more noticeably. With motivational growth, the employee’s loyalty to his or her company will also rise, and as a result, the company will recognize the quality of the work performed.

Increased productivity

Having a flexible job helps you become much more productive than an office job that requires you to be present for five days a week with eight hours of work each. This is because there is no one there with you to control you or put pressure on you. Someone who is constantly harassed by his superiors can never be fully productive because he will spend his time trying to cope with stress.

Setting goals to be achieved within a certain time frame and in a serene working environment, such as one’s own home office, helps to create all the prerequisites to fulfill one’s duties well. And that’s not all, because once the first results are achieved, good work will stimulate one to do better, to create new goals and to prove one’s worth.

More time

Having a flexible job helps you in more profitable time management… You can work where and when you want, the important thing is to create an organizational plan that allows you to keep track of all the goals you have to achieve in terms of operations. Knowing that you are free to manage your private and working life as you please allows you to work calmly and functionally. If you are an organized and precise person, you can say goodbye to performance anxiety.

use of flexible working

As you no longer have to travel to a physical office to perform your work functions, you will optimize the time you used to waste traveling to the location thanks to your flexible work. You will save money on transport and pollute less. You will be able to spend more time with your loved ones, your favorite sports, and recreation without remorse. By always adhering to the motto ”business before pleasure”, you will eliminate downtime and be more agile in fulfilling your tasks.

Whether you are freelancing or employed by a company in smart working, you will feel more motivated and ready to realize your goals. Not only will you devote more space to your interests and your family, but if you are self-employed you will also be able to devote more space to training and creativity. Once you have completed a project, you will have more space to find new clients, and new job opportunities, and if you are employed this will allow you to take on new responsibilities that can also raise your level. Working where and when you want in terms of hours allows you to always be available and on call for your client who, noticing your availability and the service you can offer, will certainly leave great reviews of the flexible work you are doing.

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Less stress

Flexible working arrangements all allow, in different ways, for a better work-life balance. This provides people with a more serene and less stressful life, especially as there is less anxiety about arriving at work on time every day.

Don’t forget! If you save time, you often save money too!

Improving one’s economic condition

Flexible jobs often entail a continuous change of the worker’s job description, resulting in the increased specialization of the worker. In these cases, the worker also experiences a salary increase.

The benefits of flexible working for the enterprise

Work flexibility brings benefits not only for workers but also for companies. Let us take a look at them together:

  • more concentration: job flexibility makes workers more satisfied with their work and therefore more concentrated;
  • greater cooperation: when employees are calm and rather satisfied with their work, they can cooperate better with other team members;
  • lower employee turnover: employees who like the company they work for stay with that company longer.

Flexible working and Digital Marketing: career outlets

The digital world has many professional outlets but the one that shines most of all in terms of flexibility is digital marketing. In this field, you need two simple things: a computer and a connection.

What must never be lacking, however, is adequate preparation with skills that are spendable in the labor market. What I recommend is to decide which direction to take and then focus on your training.

Now let us see how we can act in two different fields, i.e. if you are looking for flexible freelance work or if you are looking for flexible in-house work.

Working remotely

Today, flexible working is almost becoming a synonym for remote working. In the Covid era, there was a need for an employee mode, for obvious reasons of prevention, called smart working, or working from home.

But why is this new hybrid work formula so important? In many cases, the contracts of people who now have to work from home do not include this kind of clause; in fact, this particular type of employment was previously classified as ”teleworking”. Now that the technological revolution, together with the pandemic, has drastically changed the employment landscape, more people are realizing the potential of new ways of doing things and even large companies are favoring flexible remote working for digital marketing.

remote flexible working

If your dream is therefore to work in this field but still as an employee, then all you need to do is to train in the most appropriate way possible following your natural inclinations. If you are passionate about writing content you can certify your skills as a Web Content Editor, if you are crazy about numbers you can train as a Web Analytics Specialist or you can focus on eCommerce management.

In short, there are many choices, but if you want to open up as many doors as possible, the solution for you is to look for a Digital Marketing course that can train you in the round and also consider an online course.

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Self-employment

The freelancer is the classic example of the self-employed person who travels for work, does not have fixed hours, has great working versatility, and knows how to find clients. The typical flexible worker.

To freelance online, however, you need proper training that does not just stop at a certification but can also give you practice that you can put on your CV. The digital field is indeed vast, but a freelancer is well suited to play the role of online consultant in a profitable and remunerative way.

Indeed, many people have found themselves in smart working in the last couple of years and need assistance to make their small businesses survive. This is where this figure comes in, who in the digital world deals with a little bit of everything, from social to content marketing, from advertising campaigns to e-commerce. It’s all about finding the ideal course to set up your own business and run it flexibly through digital marketing.

Conclusions

There is no doubt that the future will be much more digital than what we have experienced so far. Technology is constantly expanding and now having a flexible job seems almost the only solution to so much uncertainty.

Regardless of which branch you choose in the world of Digital Marketing, remember to always keep yourself informed, not to give in to laziness, and to always improve, every day, whether you are employed or self-employed.

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