The way we work is changing. As the ‘gig’ or freelance economy grows and Millennials make up the largest portion of the world’s workforce, the traditional 9-5 office set up is falling out of favor and remote working (otherwise known as telecommuting) is on the rise.
The amount of people in remote roles has grown exponentially over the last decade; in fact, according to the 2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce report, the number of people telecommuting in the U.S. increased by 115 percent between 2005 and 2015.
“Telecommuting offers compelling benefits for economic and job growth while also better addressing current societal, environmental, and infrastructure challenges stemming from our current workforce norm,” explains Sara Sutton Fell, Founder and CEO of FlexJobs.
Data in the report confirms that, increasingly, companies from across the board (including startups, corporates and nonprofit) are taking note of the bottom line benefits of allowing employees to work remotely, and many are making it part of their business strategies.
You might assume that people who work remotely spend the majority of their time at home. This is true in many cases, but some companies and solopreneurs also use virtual offices in order to enhance employee productivity and improve client perception.
What is a virtual office? Alliance Virtual Office’s definition of a virtual office is as follows:
“A virtual office is a combination of people, a place, technologies, and processes that come together to help businesses and individuals work more efficiently, often in a remote way.”
Virtual office space members have access to a business address, mail handling services, a business telephone number and a range of additional features, from access to bookable conference rooms and hot desks to Live Receptionist support.
Increase in home-based jobs
Many people hear terms like “remote worker” and “digital nomad” and automatically think of self-employed freelancers. However many types of workers can fall into this category, including contract workers, entrepreneurs and full-time employees.
In fact, evidence from the report reveals that many established companies are taking a more flexible approach by allowing their employees to work remotely, some or all of the time. There are many key benefits of working from home online for employers as well as employees.
A two-year study by Stanford University showed a productivity boost among the test group’s telecommuters of the equivalent of an extra full day’s work. Employee attrition decreased by 50% and the remote group also had fewer sick days compared with those who worked in the office full-time.
Of course, many entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, small businesses and startups also operate from home nowadays. Cloud technology, widespread WiFi access and sophisticated messaging and video conferencing technology means that many don’t need an office space anymore.
One potential problem associated with working from home however is the inability to disconnect and to separate home life from work life. Coworking spaces and virtual offices (that offer hot desking) are becoming increasingly popular for this reason: they enable their members to work in a more productive environment surrounded by other people in a similar position.
Best remote jobs and how to find them
Certain types of jobs have always lent themselves to remote working, particularly ‘creative’ digital roles. Many copywriters, graphic designers and website developers work as employees remotely or as self-employed freelancers for multiple companies.
That said, you’ll find remote jobs across a range of industries. Even in fields like tutoring (Skype lessons are becoming more popular, for instance).
Here are 7 of the most common remote jobs out there today:
Becoming a ‘remote employee’ has a number of benefits and doesn’t come with the risks attached to self-employment like periods of little or no work, business expenses, saving for tax, etc. It’s also a great way to test the water if you’re thinking about starting your own business down the line, because you have to be self-motivated to succeed in a remote role.
There are a number of websites you can use to find legitimate home based jobs. Some specialize in specific industries and others cover a range of sectors. A popular one is remote.co. You can use it to search for open remote positions and find out more about the ins and out of remote working on their blog.
What you’ll need for your work from home job
Setting up your work from home space is relatively easy, especially if the type of job you do doesn’t require specialist technology. If you’re working as a remote employee, your employer should cover the cost of or provide you with the technology you need, such as a laptop or VoIP system if your role involves speaking on the phone.
As long as you have internet access and space for a desk, you can operate well from your own home. Try to create a work environment by using a spare room if your have one or working in the living room. In other words, don’t work from bed!
Working remotely from home can be a lonely affair, so you might consider joining social groups through sites like Meetup.com.
Another option would be to invest in a virtual office. These are aimed more at solopreneurs and small businesses, but some employers might give you access to one.
Why use a virtual office?
Not only do they provide support and services that enable small businesses to grow, many also offer a part-time place to work and hot desk. Some also offer meeting room access to non-members, so if you’ve got an important meeting you could suggest using one to your employer and expense the cost.
There’s never been a better time to make the move into remote work. As companies continue to embrace more flexible ways of working, the number of vacancies multiply. Yet although there are many upsides to telecommuting, it’s worth thinking about whether or not you’re self-motivated enough to really make it work.
Want to Comment? talk to us on: