I have a PhD in physics, and my career path of choice has always been in physics. Unfortunately, I have been struck with a series of chronic health problems which have caused me to be fired and homebound much of the time. However, as physics research is mostly a mental activity, I am still able to work remotely from home, provided I am also given flexible hours. The problem is, despite my continuing ability to continue working from home despite my chronic health problems, no employer so far has been willing to hire and pay me. The resulting financial problems have forced me to leave my chosen career path for the past few years, which only makes me look worse and worse on my CV, when coupled with being fired.

Do you know of any organization or employer willing to hire researchers remotely? Thanks.

  • From your question it is unclear to me whether you are looking for an academic or industrial position. If it is the latter, this should be migrated to workplace.SE (workplace.stackexchange.com).
    – xLeitix
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 8:35
  • There may be some universities focused on distance learning, like Open University, considering it's distance learning, at an arbitrary distance, this means there should be no limitations wrt the country either (except for bureaucracy). I'd focus on this kind of universities to search for possibilities, they may be the most likely option. Other than that, some projects may need lots of people analyzing data, (like LHC and some astronomy projects), there could be opportunities there as well. I don't know if any of those possibilities is any likely, though.
    – Trylks
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 9:38

2 Answers 2


As you are asking this on academia.SE, I am assuming that you are looking for an academic job as opposed to working in industry. In that case, I am afraid your assumption

However, as physics research is mostly a mental activity, I am still able to work remotely from home

may not be true for higher (post-graduate) academic jobs. I would say, being a postdoc or higher in physics is to a large extend a social activity, as much of your job will consist of teaching, training the next generation of researchers, and networking. In general, all researchers after a certain stage find that they spend preciously little of their time on actual research (which you may be able to do from home, depending on your concrete subfield). Most of the time is actually spent on activities that require physical presence, at least some percentage of the time.

That being said, many research labs are quite flexible in terms of working hours and (partial) home office. In my lab, for instance, I would not assume that anybody would take issue with an employee working about 50% of the time from home (under the assumption that one would actually work at home, of course). However, the remaining 50% would probably require physical presence, simply because the tasks would require it.

  • 1
    I would argue that programming is also a social activity, yet a fair share of programmers do the social part over IP. Side note: The Most Important Social Network: GitHub. That said, from my personal experience it is much easier to do well-defined work remotely than a creative one (somehow brainstorming, and serendipity in general, requires a lot of unfiltered noise (e.g. a random comment on a new paper said during a lunch break)). Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 12:19
  • @PiotrMigdal I am not necessarily disagreeing, but I am not sure how this is relevant to my answer.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 13:06
  • In your answer you put emphasis on the social part and imply that it is incompatible with remote work (and using it as a justification why in academia they may be unwilling to hire anyone remotely). I show example, how it is not necessarily the case. Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 14:05

If you are in US, you can apply for disability. You can also get plenty of tax rebates. I am not sure, if full time employees can work remotely all the time but contractors can, for sure work. I am sure there would be companies out there hiring contractors for short projects and letting them work remotely. You can work on one short project after the other.

Also, if you know computer programming, you can work as a software freelancer. There are plenty of freelancer jobs available.

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