How to Work From Home: A Guide For Remote Work Best Practices
The economy (and the world in general) can be very unpredictable. When events like a looming recession or a global pandemic affect how business runs, we may be finding ourselves forced into remote work. Or sadly, for some of us in certain industries, finding a new job.
Whatever your situation, the change can feel very overwhelming, which is why we wrote this quick guide on what it means to work remotely, how to work from home while staying sane and remote work opportunities to supplement (or replace) your income.
What Does Working Remotely Mean?
In a nutshell, working remotely means that you can work from anywhere outside of a traditional office space or environment. Think about the fact that you no longer need to go to one place for five days a week and stay for your shift (or whatever your current arrangement is).
Basically, you can complete your work without needing to commute anywhere. In many cases, you may not need to be available during specific hours except for any meetings you need to attend (which can happen virtually).
Sometimes, you’ll hear remote work referred to as telecommuting or telework. All of these terms essentially mean the same thing. If a job is location independent that means that you do not have to live in a specific location in order to complete the job.
Types of Remote Work
There are many types of remote work available in all kinds of roles and industries.
Here are some examples of remote jobs:
- Customer service – Plenty of companies offer opportunities to work with answering phone calls (or via chat programs) from customers. Other duties also include answering emails and managing queries.
- Insurance sales representative – Selling insurance can be done in the comfort of our own home. Many companies have options where customers can speak to a licensed agent and you can help them fill out applications or even file a claim.
- Legal work from home jobs – There are lots of opportunities for paralegal work and even those who can transcribe legal documents. Others can include roles related to compliance within corporations.
- Programmer – Since most of your work is done on a computer, many companies can work with you virtually.
- Web developer – In addition to full-time work, there are also freelance opportunities, offering a flexible schedule.
- Medical transcription – Duties typically include transcribing and editing physician correspondence, and patient histories.
- Medical coding – You’ll need to go through training (like a certificate program), and afterwards you’ll be responsible for looking at clinical statements and assigning standard codes with a specified classification system.
- Work from home nursing jobs – Yes, you can be a nurse and work from home. Specific jobs include being a legal nurse consultant, an online instructor and case manager.
- Tech support – This can range from helping people fix bugs in their programs all the way to walking customers through how to log into their online accounts.
- Financial planner/coach – Plenty of finance professionals hold meetings with their clients through video conference software.
- Graphic design – Many marketing agencies are looking for full-time or contract workers to lend their talents.
- Software developer – Places like social media companies or ones that create apps are usually looking for experienced folks.
Opportunities to Find Remote Work
As you can see above, there are plenty of opportunities to find remote work. Just because some industries are struggling (sadly), doesn’t mean you can’t find jobs elsewhere. Even if it’s just temporary or to supplement some lost recurring income, getting a legitimate work from home job can keep you busy (and sane) during turbulent times.
Here are a few places to start your search:
- Flex Jobs – Focuses mostly on full-time remote jobs, but there are some freelance opportunities to be had.
- Zip Recruiter – One of the larger job search websites around.
- Indeed – Though it’s a traditional job site, you can find some remote jobs here.
- UpWork – Jobs include freelance writing, customer service and software developer jobs.
- VIPKid – Teach English to kids in China from the comfort of your own home.
- We Work Remotely – Some of the largest companies recruit remote workers from this website.
Of course, this is by no means a comprehensive list. There are plenty of individual companies that are known for hiring remote workers. These include Amazon, Apple, GitHub, and Deloitte.
Pros and Cons of Remote Work
Here are some advantages and disadvantages of working remotely.
- Higher productivity – Forget endless meetings. Instead, you can cut out many of the usual distractions from going to an office and get a lot more done.
- Create a flexible lifestyle – If you’re not chained to an office, you can create a schedule that works better for you.
- More time for outdoor pursuits – Becoming a workaholic isn’t healthy. So the increased productivity means you can free up time to pursue hobbies.
- Renewed passion for your job – Yes, having a more flexible job situation means you can take time for yourself. As in, giving yourself a break may mean you’ll find you’re excited to go back to work.
- Cost savings – The fact that you don’t have to pay for commuting costs means you can save quite a bit of money. There could be other expenses too, such as going out to lunch with your coworkers.
- Isolation – Being by yourself at home for long stretches of time can feel lonely, especially if you’re used to working with people alongside you.
- Feel like you’re always “on” – It can be hard to strike a good work/life balance if your home and workspace are intertwined.
- More distractions – Yes, you can be more productive, but there are also more opportunities to get distracted, like those dirty dishes that need washing.
- Lack of relationships with your coworkers – Sure, there are ways to communicate virtually, but the lack of in-person interaction could mean less opportunities to develop closer relationships with your coworkers.
How to Work From Home (And Stay Sane)
There are no hard and fast rules on how to work from home, but here are some general guidelines that can be helpful:
- Set a routine – Think waking up a certain time, exercising or having breakfast before work.
- Make sure you have enough internet bandwidth – Nothing worse than trying to work and not being able to do it fast enough because of a lagging connection.
- Get all your technology together – Make sure you have what you need to be able to do your job seamlessly.
- Give yourself time to get used to the kinks – Adjusting to a work from home routine can be hard, so give yourself some grace.
- Set office hours – Even if you don’t have to, set times so that your brain knows to focus on work during those hours.
- Have a dedicated working space – Ideally you’ll have a separate room, but any place where you can separate your work is fine.
Hopefully you’ve found the information above useful, and good luck on your journey to working remotely.