By Angela Copeland
Finding a work-from-home (or remote job) can seem to be an impossible proposition. It’s like finding a unicorn. You’ve heard they exist, but you’ve never actually seen one.
Many people ask about finding jobs you can do from home. Whether you have children, would like freedom to relocate, or just prefer peace and quiet, working from home sounds ideal.
Many companies that create virtual positions or departments often do so for financial reasons. It may be cheaper to allow employees to work remotely. If a job requires travel, it might not make sense to force the employee to live in the same city as the corporation. In other cases, allowing a remote assignment increases the chances a company will have access to the best employees.
The Survey of Income and Program Participation reported a 45 percent increase in employees working from home at least one day per week between 1997 and 2010. It appears that a large portion of those people are self-employed. If you want to work from home but don’t want to start your own business, where should you begin?
The first thing to remember is to proceed with caution. There are a startling number of remote jobs available online that are, simply put, scams. And, unfortunately, a number of legitimate remote opportunities are not listed as such online. Often, it’s not until you’re in the interview that you learn the hiring manager is open to you working from home.
The types of jobs where remote working is possible are often technology-dependent. Their heavy reliance on computers and the internet are what makes working from anywhere possible. The types of jobs you may find are web developer, virtual assistant and technology support. In order to see what’s out there, search Indeed.com for “work from home” or “remote” rather than by city name.
After you’ve found what appears to be a great opportunity, take the time to do your research. In fact, research it more than you would an in person role. Get all of your questions answered. A work-from-home job has the potential (at least initially) to go awry more quickly than when you work from an office. You aren’t able to form the same bonds as quickly when you aren’t together in person.
Here are a few questions to consider. Why is the role remote? Will you be the only remote person, or is the entire team working from home? What technology (such as a laptop, cellphone and Internet) does the company provide, and what are you expected to provide? It’s also important to meet other team members. Are they committed to their work, or are they using the work-from-home option as an excuse? Do the current employees feel the work remote environment is working for the company?
In the end, finding the perfect work-from-home job is a lot of work, so be sure the one you select is worth your time.
Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.