The phenomenon of work from home jobs started as an experiment in the 70’s, a luxury or curiosity in the 80’s, a fad in the 90’s and at present in the new 20’s, it is a necessity. Employees in work from home jobs, do not spend time commuting to an office, but instead bring the office to their own home. At present, when spending time in an office is often a matter of life or death, for many companies, having work from home jobs as an option for their employees is essential.
This isn’t a drastic change as one would expect, as many of the present work from home jobs basically involve working through computers and similar electronics so shifting to a home office would be nothing more than a change of scenery. As expected, in freelancers who were previously traveling employees, the ability to work without spending a large fraction of time and budget in traveling from city to city has resulted in the facet of work from home jobs booming.
Work From Home Jobs Advantages and Disadvantages
While it is surprising that there are so many theories regarding the widespread spread of work from home jobs despite their recent introduction, the fact is that the effects of work from home jobs varies from individual to individual. In terms of effects however, they can be broadly defined into effects that are directly observable within the first few days of introduction and the effects that take time, say a few months to be observable.
In the short time, there is a general increase in productivity owing to the lack of time spent in commuting. However, the downsides to this is that due to the often rapid introduction of such ventures during quarantine, people didn’t get much time to acclimatize to this, often resulting in security risks and technical difficulties that had to be patched up.
In the long term, due to avoiding outdoor and office pollution, there is an improvement in the health of the office worker along with the reduction of worker turnover thanks to a greater sense of accomplishment as managers are now more likely to communicate thoroughly about their project roadmap. However, the individual workers may face a reduction in promotion potential due to the manager’s inability to assess them and expect higher productivity from them.
Two things must be remembered however; firstly, the option of work from home jobs is a recent development and improvement are expected and have been seen in this field and secondly, theories regarding work from home jobs are yet just that, theories. One cannot hold it up as some sort of unassailable truth and the preferences of work from home jobs will vary from user to user.
Fields that Allow for Work from Home Jobs
If an occupation cannot be practically performed through a computer screen, it isn’t likely to be classified among work from home jobs. There is a reason why medical personnel are deservedly termed as “front-line” workers. Luckily for us, many fields do allow for work from home jobs. These include:
Now, there are more ATMs than cashiers and most people see their bank’s web-site rather than the locations. So, people are needed for technical as well as financial duties. Bank duties are not limited to filling in journals or invoices but also maintaining the website and servers and taking care of cyber security. So, work from home jobs in finance exists for technicians who now share workspace with bankers and managers.
Contrary to popular perception, being an engineer does not necessitate having to work in workshops or similar environments. This is obviously true for software engineers, but also mechanical engineers can work that way thanks to technology like CAD. This isn’t even considering the fact that at higher levels, engineering degree holders would spend more time on the computer than in machining, making it a suitable field for work from home jobs.
While developers may be a subset of computer science jobs who are again a subset of engineering jobs, they take up an overwhelming subset of people who work this way. As such, it must be discussed separately. Application, game and software developers can shift to remote work from home jobs to varying degrees. Application developers would find it easiest as many of the softwares rely on designing platforms and frameworks that can be run on home systems quite well. However, software engineers might need to spend some time in an office in a hybrid work-style. This is due to testing requirements, computational requirements and proprietary softwares that may not be available to a home system. Whether due to hardware requirements or security requirements, they have to go to the office to finish the job. However, for both, the job can be done almost entirely from home. In contrast, game developers are unlikely to be offered work from home jobs. This is partly due to game developer culture that celebrates “crunch” time and partially due to technicalities owing to the same issues as software development above.
Graphic design is one of the jobs that requires technical knowledge, but the greater focus is on creative ability. Overall, with the right tools, connections and skill, one can earn a living by working from your living room. However, it is important to note that it is a very saturated market, so it’s best to collaborate with existing teams. Outside of that, there is so much overlap between this and other fields that it is a prime option for work from home jobs.
Any one who has uttered the phrase, “those who can’t do, teach” with any amount of sincerity is a fool. It’s no small feat to know a subject from cover to cover along with possessing the ability to explain the subject matter in a succinct way. This combination of encyclopedic technical knowledge along with excellent communication and expression skills is rare, and those who can do so through a screen are rarer. So, in the technical field, work from home jobs regarding instructional and tutorial content are quite common and the really reputed ones can often charge fees for it, making it an attractive part-time or freelancing option for those searching for work from home jobs.
Speaking of high-end freelancers teaching their subordinates, consultational work from home jobs are another option. By the time most developers gain enough experience to become sought after freelancers, consultational jobs are another attractive option among work from home jobs. The qualifications are similar to the instructional one above, but the emphasis is on the practical side. To put it simply, good instructional work from home jobs would require at minimum, aptitude in the practical side along with excellence in the theoretical aspect whereas consultants would require at minimum, aptitude in the theoretical side along with excellence in the practical side.
Basic Requirements for Work From Home Jobs
Say that you always wanted to have an option for work from home jobs. Now that you do, you will also have to consider the additional requirements that the office would generally provide. These include:
- Office Space:
- The main source of expense for most companies and now the primary concern of the employees with work from home jobs. A demanding work that requires the utmost concentration can’t be done in a noisy environment like on the dining table or in the living room. They are the bane of productivity and the other issues like poor lighting, bad temperatures, poor ventilation and general clutter don’t help either. So, it is no surprise that even before quarantine, high-end white collar people would invest in a home-office if they had an option for work from home jobs.
- Most people may not possess the funds to do so, so alternatives are available. Creating a working office space from available rooms doesn’t require much stretch of an imagination and as long as it meets the above necessities and the ones to be mentioned below, it will have to do.
- Home System:
- Now that you have a working home office, the office hardware has to meet the requirements of the job. Generally, it is a business computer, desktop or laptop that can meet the requirements of the job. Work from home jobs are not as taxing provided that the job involves mostly standard office tasks and paperwork. However for developers and such, a system more powerful than a business laptop or its desktop equivalent may be required.
- System Network:
- Overlapping but not a subset component of a home system, many homes already possess a system network in the form of wi-fi routers. For a home office for work from home jobs, all that must be ensured is the signal strength and consistency. Outside of this, possessing additional devices that rely on alternative signal sources (e.g. a mobile device with a mobile network signal) is a good option.
- Additional Office Tools:
- Outside of this, there are various miscellaneous components and additional software requirements for various work from home jobs, depending on the job. For instance, people working in data would require database application systems, graphic designers would require drawing tablets, developers would require paid software libraries etc.
- Office Time:
- One of the common tips in regards to work from home jobs is that employees should keep a steady routine while working. As such, a proper daily routine, including breaks should be maintained while working from home. Calendars and task planners are useful tools but outside of that, there is a degree of self-discipline and flexibility required. The discipline to avoid slacking off without a supervisor and at the same time being flexible enough to adapt to unforseen changes due to issues of lack of communication.
Friction between Employees and Managers regarding Work from Home Jobs
There is a noticeable conflict between employees and managers in old companies in regards to work from home jobs and remote working. There is an obvious presence of inertia among companies that don’t want to change their working style, but additional factors, both rational and irrational, exist between them.
Employees’ preference may vary between individuals. However, the advantages are undeniable so many prefer to do so, even at the end of quarantine. At times, if managers are insistent on in-office presence, they might even fight them over this issue.
For managers and similarly placed employees, a lot of work is based on delegating tasks and supervising them. So, they prefer to see employees in cubicles rather than through a screen. There is however, a bias among managers, in an office, that makes them look at time spent rather than results. This has led to a bias in seeing remote workers in work from home jobs as somehow lesser than workers in the office.
At a company level, there has been a lot of expense spent on office space and infrastructure. As such, there is often a sunk-cost-fallacy between employers insisting on a back to office movement. Even with the costs saved in not having to light up and ventilate the office, due to the costs already involved, companies are reluctant to continue with supporting work from home jobs.
Common Interview Points to cover with Applicants for Work from Home Jobs
For many employers, work from home jobs are a relatively new development and so, the general questions that should be asked to prospective hires to judge their competency in remote working isn’t well known. Some, of the points to cover with applicants include:
- Motivation of applicants seeking work from home jobs.
- Previous experience in work from home jobs (includes projects).
- What is your previous experience regarding distributed teams?
- What technical knowledge do you possess in order to qualify for work from home jobs (includes software)?
- Describe your means of staying focused while in work from home jobs?
- State some of your likes and dislikes in regards to work from home jobs?
- What is your preference between working from the office or remotely?
- Do you have any questions?
Tips while Searching for Work from Home Jobs
While most jobs nowadays post their remote availability in the job description, the fact is that many postings on sites that are the primary source of applicants are written by HR interns from pre-created templates or from scratch. As a result, they often miss out on crucial details and it becomes necessary to confirm. Even if available, due to the general tendency of managers to prefer in-office workers means that remote seats are often limited or non-existent. In that case, applicants often have to make themselves valuable enough to hire for the remote post or actually convince them to make such a post available. However, for the latter, unless you’re one of the best available at a bargain rate and with unavoidable circumstances for avoiding the office, it is unlikely that a company will agree to it.
However, for the rest of us searching for work from home jobs, there are some tips to follow:
Read the job description carefully. As mentioned before, poorly written job descriptions are likely to hide more information than reveal. As such, they should be read through multiple times, to prevent any hidden clauses or lines from causing trouble later. After having read the description, applied and been interviewed, never forget to confirm the details regarding the job. As mentioned above regarding poorly written job descriptions, many HR teams split the work in hiring, so there might be miscommunication between them. So, communicating any and all points of contention can prevent problems in the future.
Bargaining and selling your credentials is key if seats are limited. You must prove yourself to have experience in remote working and if in the end, the company plans to fill every role, having someone already experienced in work from home jobs would be preferable to a complete beginner who must be trained in remote working to be effective.
Outside of this, provided that you meet their requirements for the role, you must also provide a justification for the remote role. If the job description already categorizes it among work from home jobs, this is not an issue. Otherwise, you can state that it is your preference and sell your credentials as mentioned above. Otherwise, if preferences aren’t enough, then justifications like the cost of travel, quarantine or similar issues might be required to justify working from home.
Without the pandemic, it was unlikely that work from home jobs would be here within this decade. However, nothing breeds change like disaster and this is no exception. The situation is quite fitting to the idiom of letting a cat out of the bag but it isn’t a secret, or a cat that was let out but rather a way of working that has irrevocably changed the job market. Work from home jobs are expected to grow, and no matter companies attitude towards it, it is here to stay. Not only are most sites already adapted to it, but the terms associated with it have already entered the common vocabulary. People have already crossed the initial hurdles associated with learning about the technology involved, to the point that using Zoom is second nature, comparable to using Google Docs whereas just half a decade ago, it wasn’t a priority, even for technical employees. Now, the sunk-cost fallacy was described before, and it works for employees as well as employers. Employees are unlikely to gracefully abandon all the technical know-how they have gained for their work from home jobs to go back to the cubicle, especially if they prefer the former. So, in the end, it is unlikely that the trend would be reversed and so, any prospective employee must now learn to work in this new environment.