Flexible Work Options for PhD and Postdoctoral Researchers

Many graduate students are aware of the current situation affecting the academic job market and therefore look to enhance their skills and gain experience during their course through flexible jobs. However, most PhD graduates do not know what type of flexible jobs are available and where to find such work options.

1 Million for Work Flexibility

1 Million for Work Flexibility (1MFWF) is a coalition of professionals that collectively voice their support towards work flexibility. It is a platform where companies, non-profits, and businesses share their support for work flexibility. By working together, 1MFWF aims to advocate for flexible working hours and working remotely. This alliance believes that it is critical to change the workplace culture and this change is driven not only by individuals but also from companies. There are a number of companies that have provided support for this advocacy.

The goals associated with 1 Million for Work Flexibility include:

  • Inspiring 1 million people to join and make their voices really heard
  • Educating by sharing important information on news and trends to individuals through blogs, webinars, and social media
  • Leading people to achieve more work flexibility in their lives
  • Mobilizing people by making it easier for them to be involved in local and national events, petitions, legislation, and other initiatives.
  • Supporting flexibility by working with leading experts and organizations in both the public and private sectors to help advance complementary initiatives.

Finding Flexible Work Options

Scientists are increasingly finding ways to supplement their income. PhD graduates engage in writing gigs. This so-called “gig economy” allows scientists to expose their skills and to further hone their talents. There are numerous ways for scientists to earn and work. Scientific writing and publishing are one of these. Moreover, career advice for postdoctoral researchers mainly focuses in and around academia. However, there are a plethora of jobs that can be had. One of these, scientific writing, also extends to medical writing, which is a highly specialized field for which post-docs are considered. Medical writing can help people find their niche, just by associating and engaging with people outside academia.

There are many resources available to help you in a flexible job search. According to an article on the 1MFWF blog, career consultant Emily Seamone offers advice on finding the best resource for your personal circumstances. These include:

    • Determining whether you want to apply to flexible jobs directly or get help with securing a flexible job
    • Evaluating which organizations are present in your geographical location.
    • Determining what flexible arrangement is suitable for you. Do you want to work from home full-time, part-time, or seasonally, etc.?
    • Evaluating what type of employer you’d prefer to work for (non-profit, small business, etc.)
    • Considering your career experience and interests.

Examples of Flexible Work

Academic journals have now started seeking the help of graduate students. One way for journals to address their reviewer shortage is by employing PhD students. For many students, working with academic journals is a plausible way to stay atop the newest research as well as learn the ins and outs of peer review. This is a flexible work option, which PhD students can avail of. Another career path for PhD students is medical communications that involve writing for agencies to develop materials that can educate healthcare professionals. In addition, these agencies provide guidance and support for pharmaceutical companies. Whatever the type of flexible work you choose, the experience can help you later on in your career. Flexible work within the scientific community can help improve your CV, provide you with experience, knowledge, and connections, and it can earn you extra income.

Benefits of Flexible Work

Flexible work offers numerous benefits. These include the following :

  1. It allows you to meet your personal obligations, family needs, and other responsibilities.
  2. It saves you time and money in commuting to work. With flexible work, you can avoid stress, which in turn, can be beneficial for your well-being. As a PhD student, you can benefit from these savings because it gives you more opportunities to hone your craft.
  3. It gives you the freedom to choose your own work schedule thus bolstering your productivity and ultimately benefiting both you and the company.
  4. Flexible work allows you to reach your educational and career goals faster because you choose how and when to work. If you’re looking for work-life balance, then this is the path for you.

Do you think that flexible jobs are a better option? How has your experience of remote work been? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!


Note: International PhD students and researchers need to check with their respective university’s international office, whether they are legally permitted to perform off-campus tasks.


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