There are people who really thrive on the nine to five workday, and then there are people who benefit more from a flexible work environment. It seems that these days, it is increasingly popular to have flexibility in your work hours, and not only that, but it has actually been proven to be good for you!

In 2010, a Cochrane research review evaluated more than 16,000 people on their work conditions and compared it to a variety of health metrics. They discovered that people who had a flexible work life reported improved sleep (both duration and quality), improved mental health, reduced exhaustion, lower blood pressure and a better self-rated health status. The people who reported all of the above benefits identified as ‘self-scheduled’ workers. That is, they were able to choose the hours or days that they worked.

Clare Bambra of the Wolfson Research Institute of Durham University in the UK said in a statement regarding the study that: “flexible working seems to be more beneficial for health and wellbeing where the individuals control their own work patterns, rather than where employers are in control.”

Doctors who locum have already discovered the benefits of this flexible way of living. Although they may not always be able to specify exact shift hours, the fact that they can pick and choose which jobs they want, and give themselves time off between assignments, gives them a huge amount of flexibility in their work life.

Aside from these positive health benefits, there are other great benefits of a flexible working environment:


Unless you have family living close by who can help out regularly, childcare is just a part of life once you become a working parent. The juggle of daycare – getting into your chosen centre, working around the daycare hours, what to do with a sick child who can’t attend – is a huge pressure on modern day parents. But flexibility in your work life might help alleviate a great deal of this pressure as you can organise your shifts to be staggered with your partners shifts, reducing the amount of hours your child needs to be in care.

For school aged children, before and after school care can be eliminated altogether if you plan things well. For example, if parent A does the early morning shift while parent B gets the kids ready for school, then parent A can be home in time for pick up while parent B starts an afternoon shift. And a huge bonus of locuming is that you can say no to any work assignments that fall within the school holidays. That means you won’t have to book the kids into vacation care and can spend some quality time with them instead.

Avoid the rush hour

Choosing to locum in various shifts will usually mean commuting outside of the rush hour. It is amazing how much time you can save yourself from sitting in traffic if you just move your work hours slightly from one end of the day to the other. This means you’ll be more energised when you get to work and have more time to yourself when you get home.

Personal control

As per the study mentioned above, people who feel like they have some kind of control over their work schedule report being happier, more rested and less stressed. On top of this, it was also found that they did more exercise, on average got one additional hour of sleep each night and had fewer work-life conflicts.

Semi retirement

Becoming a temp or starting up locuming is also a great idea for someone who would like a fairly major change to their life. One of these big changes could be someone who is considering retiring but isn’t quite ready to give it all up yet.

Perhaps retirement isn’t exactly what you want just yet, but you are definitely past going to work in a permanent, full time job each day. This is where locuming can work for you. You can choose to do a temporary part time position while enjoying life on the other days, or you can do a few weeks or months ‘on’, and then a few weeks or months ‘off’, and give yourself a real taste test of retired life with the benefit of financial security as you line up your next job.

Other life goals

Another benefit to a flexible work environment is that you will finally have the time to achieve other life goals. Perhaps you would like to start a family, or maybe you’d like to go back to studying, or even just travelling the world. All of these things don’t mean you have to save like mad and then give up your day job. If you have a good flexible working environment, such as locuming, you can achieve all of these things as well as remain financially secure.

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