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11 Common Jobs With the Most Downtime

Go over a curated list of jobs offering ample free time during work hours, ranging from flight attendants to cashiers and beyond.
By Synkdup Editorial Team  |  25 January 2024
Best Downtime Jobs

Everybody has different priorities when it comes to what they want from a job. Some prioritize pay and perks, some prioritize where their interest lies, and for some, work-life balance is most important. To each their own…

One of the less discussed aspects of jobs, though, is downtime, or how much free time you get at work. For many people, it is as important a factor as any when deciding on a job.

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Jobs with a lot of downtime are often preferred by those who are looking to utilize their free time at work to do something productive, like studying. And there are also a lot of people who simply want a laid-back job and don’t mind if it means a smaller paycheck.

Whatever your reason for looking for a job that allows for a lot of free time, here’s a list of 10 jobs where you can expect to have considerable free time at work.

1. Flight Attendant

Average annual pay in U.S.A. – $59,050

Flight attendants are professionals employed by airlines to ensure the comfort and well-being of passengers on commercial flights. They make sure passengers are informed about and follow all safety regulations. They also serve food and drinks, and provide assistance to passengers with special needs, such as those with disabilities or those traveling with kids.

They usually get a lot of downtime during layovers and between flights. They also tend to be free during the cruise phase, which is the time when the aircraft is at a stable altitude and the seatbelt sign is turned off. They may also get more free time on quieter flights, usually nighttime flights where there are fewer passengers.

2. Receptionist

Average annual pay in U.S.A. – $32,580

A receptionist is an individual employed in a public-dealing role at an office, hotel, hospital, or other business setting. A receptionist is primarily responsible for greeting and assisting customers or visitors, both in person and over the phone. Receptionists also schedule appointments, respond to e-mails, and sometimes perform administrative tasks like data entry and maintaining records.

Since one of the primary tasks of receptionists is to assist visitors and callers, they sometimes have no work to do when there are no visitors to assist or phone calls to answer. They generally get the most downtime during slow hours like the early morning or late evening. Receptionists at hotels and resorts also get a significant amount of downtime during the off-season.

3. Headhunter

Average annual pay in U.S.A. – $40,850

The new fad in the corporate world is recruitment marketing. All kinds of opportunities are available these days in HR. A common title nowadays that is growing in popularity is that of ‘Headhunter’.

Some headhunters can even earn on a commission basis too. One example of this is the SynkdUp Headhunter Program. It is a commission-based program that offers both, flexible and remote work schedules. Here anyone can make up to $25 per successful application by sharing a job on their social networks.

It is a positive for the community too, as instead of promoting goods or services, you are helping people find work and provide for themselves and their families. This leads to additional satisfaction aside from the earnings.

4. Librarian

Average annual pay in U.S.A. – $61,240

Librarians are responsible for organizing and managing the resources in a library and providing assistance to people who visit the library. Their primary responsibility is to help people find the texts they are looking for. They may work in public libraries, school libraries, or specialized libraries such as law or medical libraries.

Unless they work at a particularly busy library, librarians have a considerable amount of downtime at work. Since their primary responsibility is to assist people looking for books, librarians often find themselves without anything to do when there are not a lot of readers in the library. There may also be less activity in the library on weekdays, when most readers are at work or school.

5. Customer Service Representative

Average annual pay in U.S.A. – $36,470

Customer service representatives interact with and assist the customers of an organization over the phone, chat messages, or email. They mainly assist customers with their inquiries and complaints related to the products/services of the company. They usually work in a call center setting, and may also handle customer orders, returns, or exchanges.

Since you have to wait for customers to reach out to you, you may often find yourself without any work to do as a customer service representative. You will also be standing by when there are technical issues and customers are not able to connect to the helpline number.

Nowadays, companies are also incorporating technology like chatbots and automated email responses that decrease the workload on customer service representatives. Also, companies with great quality products/services get fewer customer complaints, and if you are working for such a company, you can have a lot of free time on the job.

6. Graphic Designer

Average annual pay in U.S.A. – $57,430

Graphic designers are creative professionals who create visual content of different types, like logos, infographics, social media posts, advertisements, website and app designs, and so on. The content they create is usually designed to convey a particular idea or message and is targeted at a specific audience.

They work in a wide range of industries, including advertising, publishing, and web design. They generally work in a team rather than independently, and they often have to wait for others to finish their work before they can start theirs, whcih allows for some downtime on the job.

They also get free time waiting for approval from clients or colleagues. Many times, they have to wait for resources like text and images to be provided to them and have no duties to perform during that time.

Additionally, they get to relax when a project is on hold or is completed and the next project is still undecided. However, downtime for graphic designers comes mostly in the form of waiting for feedback from clients.

7. School Teacher

Average annual pay in U.S.A. –$62,870

School teachers are responsible for educating students at different grade levels from kindergarten to high-school. Teachers instruct students in a variety of subjects, including science, math, history, literature, art, music, and more.

They are primarily responsible for explaining concepts and information in a simple and comprehensive way. Teachers create lesson plans, develop educational materials, assess the performance of students and provide feedback to students and their parents.

It is a job that requires a lot of patience, dedication and a high level of soft skills. And it is also a job that can regularly allow for some free time at work.

This is mostly when the students are working independently or on assignments. There are also periods like the beginning or the end of the semester when teachers may have less work load. Also, during exams or regular tests, teachers may not be required to take classes and may have some downtime after they are done grading tests. Some teachers may also get some free time when students are participating in co-crricular activities, trips or school-wide activities.

8. Nurse

Average annual pay in U.S.A. –$80,010

Nurses are trained professionals who are responsible for taking care of patients undergoing treatment and providing assistance to physicians and other healthcare professionals. They work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, community health centers, and sometimes at the residence of a patient.

The typical tasks of a nurse include documenting patient histories, monitoring vital signs, performing physical exams, administering medications, and coordinating with doctors. Although it is a highly demanding profession, there are instances when a nurses may have some downtime during their shift.

For example, when the patients are sleeping and there are no urgent tasks to perform. They may also get some free time when their assigned patient is in stable condition and needs only regular monitoring or when the patient is discharged and there are no new admissions.

Additionally, they may get some time to relax when their patient is waiting for test results or for a specialist or additional medical staff to arrive. Diagnostic testing takes quite a bit of time, and a nurse can also get some free time when the patient is in an MRI or CT scan machine.

9. Toll Booth Attendant

Average annual pay in U.S.A. –$28,230

A tool booth attendant is a person who works at a tool booth, which is a station typically located on bridges and highways where motorists need to pay a fee to use the road or bridge. The primary responsibility of a tool booth attendant is to collect payments from drivers passing through the booth. They also give directions and other information to drivers and ensure that traffic flows smoothly through the tool booth.

It may be a monotonous job, but it a great job for people who want to have a lot of free time on the job and like to interact with people. The job offers a lot of downtime when the traffic is low and there are fewer vehicles passing through the toll booth.

10. Cashier

Average annual pay in U.S.A. – $26,180

Cashiers handle payments at establishments such as retail stores, movie theaters, or restaurants. Their primary responsibility is to make sure that the right amount is collected when customers make payments at the time of leaving. They provide the customers with receipts, make change, and use a cash register or billing software to ensure the efficient recording of transactions.

As a cashier, you might find yourself without anything to do at different times of your work day unless you are employed at a very busy establishment. If your responsibilities are limited to handling transactions, you will have downtime whenever there are no customers to cater to.

11. Night Watchman

Average annual pay in U.S.A. – $32,050

A night watchman is responsible for keeping watch over a place during the night hours to ensure the safety of the people and assets there. The job mostly involves keeping the place safe from trespassers. Responsibilities may include conducting patrols, responding to alarms, and reporting any suspicious events or activities to the relevant authorities. You may also be required to monitor CCTV cameras.

On many overnight security guard jobs, you get extended hours of downtime when there is no activity in the place at all. Working as a graveyard watchman is a good example of this. There are also some night watchman jobs that require you to basically just be there or only conduct regular patrols, and you are just sitting idle between patrols.

What to Do With Downtime at Work

Depending on how long it is, you can utilize your downtime at work in many different ways. Here are a few quick ideas:

  1. Recharge: Listen to music or watch funny videos on your phone to relax and refresh your mind. It will help you perform better when you have to start work again. You should also consider doing meditation practices that can be done from anywhere.
  2. Organize your workspace: Why not assign yourself a task when you have nothing to do? Use your downtime to organize your workspace and declutter it if needed. Having a well organized workspace can really boost productivity by helping you be more clear headed.
  3. Exercise: If your work is sedentary, it might be a great idea for you to use your free time to go for a walk, stretch, or do some simple, body weight exercises. It would help alleviate some of the negative effects of sitting for too long.
  4. Journal: Free time at work can be a good time to put your thoughts and feelings down on paper. It is a great practice for getting clarity about the things on your mind and could help a lot with your personal and professional life.
  5. Read: Do you have a book that has been on your to-read list forever? If you do, you can finally read it during your free time at work.
  6. Help coworkers: You can offer to help your colleagues with their tasks when you have nothing to do at work. It can help you get to know them better and make new friends. It will also allow you to ask them for help if you ever need it.
  7. Plan and prepare: You can use your free time to plan out your upcoming tasks or prepare for your work ahead of time. It can greatly contribute to making your work more efficient and less stressful.
  8. Improve your skillset: You can use your downtime to learn new skills, whether related or unrelated to your industry. You can do this by watching YouTube tutorials, reading articles, or taking online courses.


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