The dream of many exhausted professionals is to keep the paycheck and career advancement but lose the expensive and tiresome commute. Even prior to 2020, when quarantines related to COVID-19 led to an increase in working from home, more than 20% of workers employed by someone else worked nearly half their daily hours from home.
The number of people working remotely spiked in 2020. In April of 2020, more than 60% of Americans said they were working from home—more than twice as many as the previous month, when quarantines started going into effect throughout much of the U.S. Additionally, 59% of those working from home say they would prefer to continue doing so even after quarantines are lifted.
If you'd just as soon do your job in your pajamas—or, at any rate, far from the maddening crowds of the cubicle farm—consider three approaches to help your work-at-home career blossom.
1. Negotiate With Your Boss
Many jobs require only an internet connection and maybe a phone line. If your present gig is one of these, you might be able to talk your manager into allowing you to work at home on a full- or part-time basis. The best way to do this is to demonstrate that letting you do your job from a home office will benefit the company.
Management, business, and financial careers had the highest percentage of employees working remotely prior to 2020.
Focus your argument on productivity gains and the money the company subsequently stands to earn. Be prepared to back up your claims with real numbers, hopefully with dollar signs in front of them. Your case will be stronger if you're able to demonstrate your ability to get stuff done while outside the office.
If you're already allowed to work at home on an occasional basis, be sure to put in your best work whenever you're having a work-at-home day. If your manager and colleagues have difficulty contacting you or seeing the impact of the work you do remotely, it'll be difficult to persuade them that you can be trusted with a more permanent arrangement.
2. Look Online
If the job you have doesn't lend itself to working from home or you're in the market for a new job altogether, explore one of the many online job search sites that specialize in work-from-home opportunities. Specialty job sites like FlexJobs allow you to search vetted banks of telecommuting, freelance, and part-time work for a fee.
Several free sites also offer work-from-home possibilities. WeWorkRemotely primarily lists jobs involving computer programming, business, and management. Rat Race Rebellion specializes in listing part-time jobs or side hustles categorized as part of the gig economy. Fiverr and Upwork both specialize in freelance work related to fields like writing, editing, photography, graphic design, and more.
If you go it on your own, be sure to avoid scams. The old adage is true: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Other warning signs of internet job scams include outrageously high pay, vague job descriptions or titles, or people contacting you out of the blue via email with any of the above.
Traditional job-seeking websites also have searchable listings you can filter with keywords like "work from home," "virtual," "remote," or "freelance."
3. Focus on Companies or Specific Jobs
Many jobs are more conducive to remote work than others. So, it's a good idea to search employer sites for job openings in areas where remote work is most likely.
Utilize professional connections in your field or where you live. Find out who knows about companies with jobs that can be done remotely. Who you know remains important when landing a remote gig.
A couple of possibilities that can be found in nearly any community are medical transcriptionists and call/chat center agents. Larger medical practices often contract with firms that handle transcription services, but smaller, local practices might work with someone local who has the necessary skills.
Customer service representatives who handle calls or online chats often can do the job from home if they have the proper equipment. Rather than working directly for a local business, someone in this field is more likely to work for a larger agency.
Another job worth exploring is closed captioning services, which is a type of transcription work. For example, someone who does a lot of Youtube videos might want to provide closed captioning, and that requires someone to transcribe every word spoken.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Employed Persons Working on Main Job at Home, Workplace, and Time Spent Working at Each Location by Class of Worker, Occupation, and Earnings, 2019 Annual Averages." Accessed July 7, 2020.
Gallup. "U.S. Workers Discovering Affinity for Remote Work." Accessed July 7, 2020.