What type of work suits me?

Figuring out what type of work suits your needs can help you feel better able to manage your mental health while working. When deciding what sort of work would suit you, you might want to think about:

  • how many hours you can work – do you have other commitments that take up your time?
  • when you can work them – do you need time during the day to go to appointments, or evenings free for child care?
  • where you work – how long do you want to commute?
  • who you work with – do you prefer to work on your own, or with other people?

“I find it useful to create spaces in the day when I can stop, reflect and address some of the difficulties in the day.”

Flexible working

With flexible working, you work a set number of hours (possibly full or part-time) but have greater control over when you work. You may have to be in work for certain ‘core hours’ (for example, 10am to 4pm) but can vary the times you start and finish work outside of these hours.

Possible advantages of flexible working Possible disadvantages of flexible working
  • greater control over hours worked
  • better work-life balance
  • chance to avoid rush-hour crowds
  • ability to attend medical appointments


  • not always possible – for example, some roles require you to work set hours
  • can be challenging if you struggle with creating structure for yourself

It is worth asking your employer if they are able to facilitate flexible working hours.

“[My employer] gives me the chance to [do a] more flexible working hour schedule, as long as the work is done.”

Part-time work

Part-time work is where you work fewer hours a day or fewer days a week.

Possible advantages of part-time working Possible disadvantages of part-time working
  • better work-life balance
  • time in the day to attend medical appointments, study part-time, look after your wellbeing
  • lower income
  • less time to get to know your colleagues
  • less time for training and development

Shift work

Shift work takes place on a schedule outside the traditional nine to five day. It can involve working evenings, nights, mornings and weekends.

Possible advantages of shift work Possible disadvantages of shift work
  • greater flexibility
  • time in the day to attend medical appointments, study part-time, look after your wellbeing
  • working late may suit someone who takes medication in the morning that makes them drowsy in the day
  • less stability
  • working evenings and night shifts are linked with sleep problems
  • impact on your social life

Casual work

Casual work (or zero-hour contracts) is where you can choose whether to work the hours that are available to you.

Possible advantages of casual work Possible disadvantages of casual work
  • greater choice of hours of work
  • can usually end employment without serving a notice period
  • no guaranteed hours of work
  • not always entitled to statutory benefits (sick pay, annual leave, maternity pay etc.)

Remote working

Remote working is where you can do some or all of your work from home or anywhere else other than the normal workplace.

Possible advantages of working from home Possible disadvantages of working from home
  • the option to work in a quieter environment with fewer distractions
  • no or limited travel
  • fewer social interactions (this may be positive for some people – for example, if you have social anxiety)
  • less support available from your employer
  • isolation and fewer social interactions (this may be a negative experience for some people)
  • difficulty switching off from work


Being self-employed or freelancing involves working for yourself.

Possible advantages of self-employment Possible disadvantages of self-employment
  • flexibility to choose the hours you work
  • ability to work from home or wherever suits you
  • greater choice over who you work with
  • greater autonomy
  • unreliable workload and uncertain income
  • less stability
  • fewer employment rights




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