If the coronavirus epidemic has had one positive effect, it’s the way it put telecommuting and other forms of remote work in the spotlight. This doesn’t quite make up for the overflowing hospitals, mass layoffs, and various stripes of political tomfoolery, but the new emphasis on working from home is long overdue and definitely needed. Here’s why:
Table of Contents
- 1 The Benefits of Working from Home
- 2 Who Succeeds at Working from Home?
- 3 The 20 Best Jobs You Can Do from Home
- 3.1 Graphic Designer/Animator
- 3.2 Bookkeeper
- 3.3 Customer Service Representatives/Call Center Agent
- 3.4 Online Tech Support
- 3.5 Data Entry
- 3.6 Translator
- 3.7 Social Media Manager
- 3.8 Programmer
- 3.9 Telephone Nurse
- 3.10 Remote Medical Coder
- 3.11 Offsite Paralegal
- 3.12 Virtual Assistant
- 3.13 Recruiter/Headhunter
- 3.14 Website Moderator
- 3.15 Online Teacher/Tutor
- 3.16 Academic Test Scorer
- 3.17 Proofreader/Editor
- 3.18 Claims Investigator
- 3.19 Remote CCTV Monitoring Agent
- 3.20 Work-From-Home Travel Agent
- 4 The Future of Home-Based Jobs
The Benefits of Working from Home
Do you like commuting in traffic? If so, you probably put mayonnaise on your ice cream, too. As for the rest of us, we’re just too happy that almost every work from home job takes a car off the road. It improves air quality, too: do you remember how fine the weather was during the lockdown? Fewer planes flying and cars driving means fewer soot particles in the air, which means less cloud cover; a phenomenon known as global dimming.
Single parents and couples who both have jobs may claim that they’re going out of their minds at home with the kids, but they (and their children) will probably miss the mayhem of working from home once it’s gone. With daycare running to about $200 per child each week, and commuting costs around $170 per mile per year, they’re also saving some money. Many of them may be thinking of switching to a job working from home in any case.
Most gardens are thriving and many walls getting a much-needed coat of paint. A lot of people are indeed concerned about the welfare of their relatives and – especially – their own financial future, but many who earn money from home are also more relaxed than ever before. A better work-life balance is certainly easier to achieve: unless you’re on a call, you can wander into your own kitchen and crank up your own espresso machine. If you want to hustle from 9 to 5 without a break, you can; if you find the Pomodoro technique maximizes your productivity, do that; if you want to go visit family in another city without taking a vacation, nothing is stopping you.
Who Succeeds at Working from Home?
Before we get started reviewing our top 20 work from home jobs, we should probably point out that getting into the right mindset will help you make much better choices, including choosing a work-at-home job that suits your personality, lifestyle, and expectations.
Above all, the ideal remote worker is self-motivated – maintaining your get-up-and-go while you’re alone is not something everyone is capable of. If you plan to work from home long-term, it will also help if you’re not the kind of person who relies on colleagues for social interaction. This doesn’t mean that you have to be anti-social, though: companies needing remote workers always look for team players. Though communication may be limited, colleagues will be relying on you, even though you may not even know them.
As for those who grow to love this kind of work, they tend to be goal-oriented and not clockwatchers. As everybody who’s ever worked in an office knows, most people there spend less than half their time on anything remotely productive. As people who work from home are usually paid according to deliverables rather than simply showing up, getting things done is much more important than marking time.
Another characteristic they have is the ability to separate work and home life so that neither infringes on the other. A separate office you stay out of when you’re “home” and nobody else enters while you’re “at work” is invaluable for anyone who works at home full time. This also helps to cut out background noise that may sound less than professional to the person on the other end of the line.
As for finding the perfect work-at-home job, you can make a good start without even leaving the house. Flexjobs is one go-to resource for remote positions, while even more traditional employment agencies like Kelly Services typically have a few available. In the end, though, the people who snap up the top jobs are often those who market themselves without seeming pushy and network at every opportunity. When a company is looking for a remote worker, their interactions with managers tend to be limited, so a recommendation from an existing employee counts for a great deal.
The 20 Best Jobs You Can Do from Home
Side hustles are great and certainly something we at ProMoneySavings recommend as a way to balance an ailing budget. This article, however, is about legitimate, “real” jobs. Some of them can indeed be done on a contractor basis, but all can also be a step towards a career spent working from home, including medical and dental insurance, matched 401(k) contributions, the possibility of promotion and far more stability than the average freelancer or gig worker has. Many, in fact, come with a salary that’s very similar to what you can earn by sitting in an office.
Graphic design is one profession that combines technical skill with artistic ability. You can do an online course to get to know the basics, but the only way to truly learn the ropes is by practicing.
Especially once you start making animated visual effects, you’ll have no shortage of clients. Advertisements online as well as on media like television are in constant need of attractive graphics, while websites, magazines, and video game companies can provide longer-term projects. The rates you can charge depend greatly on your level of skill, familiarity with different software packages, and especially on having a large portfolio of successful projects. Entry-level graphic designers and animators can expect at least $25 per hour.
Calling yourself an accountant generally requires at least a degree and usually a professional certification. If you think of the accountant as the driver of the car, the bookkeepers are the ones who keep the wheels turning: a CPA may be necessary to do a company’s taxes and advise on financial strategy, but every company also needs one or more people to capture invoices, prepare basic statements and run the accounting software.
It goes without saying that this is the kind of job in which someone who’s meticulous about detail will excel. Since bookkeepers are also sometimes entrusted with making payments to suppliers, a sense of responsibility is also a must – many bookkeepers who work from home are middle-aged or older.
An online course can get you started, after which you can begin applying for jobs with salaries of $30,000 upwards. As long as you register with the IRS as a tax preparer, you can also make several thousand dollars between January and April reviewing personal income tax returns as a sideline.
Customer Service Representatives/Call Center Agent
If you have good verbal communication skills, you don’t need to sweat it out in the soul-deadening atmosphere of a call center. As long as you have a landline phone and reliable internet service, you can work equally well from home: answering customer questions, logging complaints, and updating service requests.
This is not, unfortunately, the most lucrative job out there. Minimum wage is more or less standard, and the work itself is often both frustrating and boring. You may want to get your feet wet with some contract or part-time jobs before you think of making this a career; LiveOps or Working Solutions will be able to help you in that regard.
Online Tech Support
Though it pays better than customer relations, offering online tech support for a type of gadget or piece of software isn’t exceptionally hard. Most often, you’ll have a checklist to work through which will resolve the most common issues, while you can refer any complicated problem to a more experienced technician.
Becoming such a technician means a significant salary bump, but doesn’t necessarily require much in the way of formal qualifications. Examples of courses that could land you a comfortable work-from-home job include A+ certification, Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate, and the Microsoft Networking Essentials course.
Not everyone has the personality needed to deal with customers’ problems from dawn to dusk. If you prefer working alone, transferring numbers from handwritten or printed text to a computer may be more your speed. If you have experience in some field – you’ve worked in a lawyer’s office before, for example, or understand medical terminology – you can also work as a transcriber and type out recorded voice notes. In some cases, these workers may receive upwards of $1 per minute of recorded audio, and unlike with basic data entry, professionalism and experience matter.
You will be paid either for the amount of time you spend on a task or the amount of work you get done, but entry-level data capturers can generally count on only $10 per hour or so. On the other hand, your employer won’t expect you to stick around forever, making this a good stopgap income if you’re stuck at home waiting for a better opportunity to come along.
Numerous companies have offices in foreign lands, many deal with overseas customers or suppliers, and most of the rest would if given the chance. Much of this business is conducted in English, but this is not commonly spoken in many countries – even if it is, there is often a need to translate operating manuals, meeting minutes, and online content in a way that’s both accurate and professional. In some cases, knowledge of the local culture is also essential to avoid minor and major faux pas.
Depending on your level of fluency, there are a variety of jobs available. Someone who’s certified to translate important documents such as contracts can often write their own ticket, especially if it’s difficult to find people who’re bilingual in that language and English. Real-time interpreters are very sought-after too, though anyone with more than a basic grasp of any foreign language is likely to find some opportunity that allows them to work at home.
Social Media Manager
Companies that use platforms like Twitter and Facebook to promote their brand often have full-time positions that involve maintaining these accounts, creating new posts, collaborating on marketing campaigns, and engaging customers. You don’t need any formal certification to get started, but something like a brief course on the mechanics of the internet, marketing experience, or simply a wicked sense of humor can be a great help.
The skill levels and prestige of social media managers vary greatly: some positions are filled by interns while others come with very high salaries. If you’re clever and lucky enough to pull off a viral campaign, you may become a kind of superstar in this niche.
People who deal with computer code for a living tend to fall into two distinct groups: those who like and value meetings with colleagues, customers and shareholders, and those who regard them as an unnecessary distraction. If you’re one of the latter and have great analytical skills along with a logical approach to problem-solving, you can consider learning a language such as Python, Java, or Swift.
Salaries vary greatly according to talent, experience, and motivation: an entry-level programmer who’s only more-or-less competent may be offered $45,000, one with several years of experience $60K, and a full-fledged software engineer with a Master’s degree can demand as much as $100,000 a year – of course, someone like that will typically be in a managerial position and not able to work remotely.
Somewhat surprisingly, there’s a huge demand for registered nurses who prefer to work from home. Some are employed by medical insurance companies, processing bills and authorizing treatment. Others are active in patient education, case management, and medical administrative work.
Providing these services from your own living room is certainly less stressful than working at a hospital, but there is one major catch you need to be aware of: you need to have a nursing license in the state where you’re planning to work, which is interpreted as whatever state the patient resides in. For this reason, telehealth providers prefer to hire nurses licensed in multiple locations.
Remote Medical Coder
In order to make communication between doctors and insurers easier, the American medical industry uses a series of codes to describe different diagnoses and treatments. As there are around 70,000 different codes for conditions and another 10,000 or so for procedures and medication, things can get complicated and mistakes are common.
Keeping the confusion to a minimum therefore requires the help of specialists who are neither doctors nor insurance adjusters: medical coders. Becoming one can take as little as nine months and doesn’t require a college degree. The average salary for a coder is about $55,000 per year.
Organizing files, researching cases, and drafting documents are all things that don’t really require you to physically share an office with a lawyer. As with remote nurses, however, most paralegal jobs you can do from home require litigation experience in a given state.
As everyone knows, paralegals are woefully underpaid compared to their level of responsibility and workload. In the case of those who work at home, the average hourly pay is about $17.50.
Technology has made many of secretaries’ traditional tasks obsolete. As a result, many of those that remain can be done from your own home just as easily: booking appointments, managing someone’s calendar, transcribing recorded voice notes, replying to routine emails, planning events, and doing internet searches.
Adding value in this role relies on good people skills and a preference for being organized. The pay is only about $15 per hour, and these are often just part-time positions. On the other hand, if you make yourself indispensable, you may be able to negotiate a more satisfactory salary.
A recruiter may work at an agency or directly for a company’s human resources department; their role is to solicit, evaluate, and prioritize résumés for an open position. Headhunters do much the same thing, but usually work within a single industry and specialize in finding the best person for a job among a group of stellar performers, even if these are currently employed somewhere else.
Everything in either job description can be done at home, including in-person interviews if you believe that videoconferencing is a valid substitute. Having a large network of people in the area you work in will be an advantage, as are strong negotiating skills. As a sideline, you can also proofread and improve jobseekers’ résumés – people pay up to $500 for this service.
Numerous companies, especially social media platforms, need remote workers to check that user-generated content is in accordance with their community guidelines and common decency. This is actually a fairly responsible job, as hosting illegal material, including copyrighted works and advertisements for scams, can expose the publisher to legal consequences. Salaries range from about $30,000 to perhaps twice that.
All you need to get started is some basic digital literacy, a knack for playing detective, and about a week of on-the-job training. Be aware that, depending on the specific website, this job sometimes requires a strong stomach. On the other hand, it can also be fairly pleasant, like when you review photos submitted to stock image websites for quality and appropriate classification. Two closely related jobs are that of social media and search engine evaluators, whose task is to check search results and ads for relevance.
Homeschooling is, for obvious reasons, pretty popular while corona is still around. This means that tutoring or teaching via the internet, from the comfort of your own home, is a great way to supplement your income.
This is something you can try whatever your level of education. Prof360 specializes in placing university lecturers; Outschool lets you teach at any level from kindergarten to high school. Though most tutoring jobs you can do from home require that you have a college degree or be working towards one, you can even teach English as a second language as long as you’re a native speaker and citizen of the United States or Canada.
There is one caveat, though: most of the companies in this field don’t employ online teachers directly. Instead, they serve as a kind of clearinghouse and payment processor connecting schools, parents and teachers. In practice, this doesn’t matter much if you don’t need employment benefits like medical: demand is so high that most people will have no trouble making a living in this way.
Academic Test Scorer
Even if teaching the younger generation doesn’t sound like your thing, you can still get a work-from-home job in academia. As long as you have some basic language skills, you can grade school essays for about $10 an hour, thereby freeing teachers for other tasks. If you’re willing to sit through two weeks of training and evaluation, you can also score standardized, multiple-choice questionnaires for ETS.
Some of these jobs require applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree, all of them only assign work on an as-needed basis, and you will probably not qualify for formal employment status unless they can pay you for at least 20 hours per week. On the other hand, this kind of work isn’t very demanding and can provide you with either a full-time job or a low-stress second source of income.
If you have impeccable grammar and an eye for detail, you could earn $20 an hour doing nothing more than reading and correcting website copy, advertising material, form letters and all the millions of words businesses produce daily. The last thing they want is to embarrass themselves by writing “there” instead of “their”, and software tools are still not as good as a human brain.
If you’re a little more confident in your command of English and know the difference between AP and Chicago styles, you can earn even more by checking text for clarity and tone, making changes as necessary. If you’re looking for a full-time job doing this from home, it’s highly recommended that you have an undergraduate degree in literature, journalism, or communication.
As long as you have a high school diploma or equivalent, you can follow up on insurance, disability and unemployment claims to make sure they’re legit. Since you won’t physically be evaluating damage to buildings, cars, or more serious cases, there’s no need for you to leave your own house.
Instead, work-at-home claims investigators conduct research in databases and online to find cheaters. If you have some kind of post-secondary qualification such as a nursing degree or experience working in an auto shop, your options expand considerably. Even if you’re only interested in remote positions, you may earn up to $50,000 per year.
At present, there’s also a huge demand for contact tracers, meaning investigators who contact corona patients, the people who’ve been in contact with them, whoever has been in contact with those people, and so on, in order to track the spread of infection. If interested, you should see if the CDC, Contrace, or the Public Health Institute has positions available.
Remote CCTV Monitoring Agent
With internet-connected security cameras now being the norm, there’s no need for a security guard to monitor the live footage from somewhere on the premises. Doing this from your home requires no special training and pays up to about $15 an hour.
This is not, counter to what many people expect, an easy job. It’s certainly nothing like watching TV: you have to spend endless hours, usually at night, looking at empty parking lots, factories and similar uninspiring scenes. At the same time, you must remain alert enough to instantly notice anything out of the ordinary and alert a supervisor or security company.
One variation of this job is that of an online test proctor, who monitors students taking exams on their home computers using a webcam and screen capture software.
Work-From-Home Travel Agent
Though anyone with a credit card can book a flight online, many people still prefer to use professionals to find exactly the right tour package and ensure that as little as possible goes wrong between first arriving at the airport and getting back home. There are some tricks and know-how involved in getting their customers the best possible deal, but all the information you really need is available online.
You can choose to start your own agency, especially if you know some particular part of the world or a certain holiday activity well. This may be too much of a leap for you until you gain some experience, so you can either apply for a job as a remote researcher with an existing agency, or join a group of independent agents and get benefits like higher commissions and free courses.
The Future of Home-Based Jobs
Telecommuting was once seen as a novel solution to unusual circumstances and certainly not as a normal part of business. The covid-19 pandemic seems to have changed this for good: remote working is no longer just for gig work.
Despite the fears of traditional managers, it turns out that working from home actually increases both employee satisfaction and productivity. Sought-after specialists are no longer restricted to working for companies in their area, nor is it cheaper for companies to hire locally. Especially if you have trouble finding an on-site job these days, working at home may be just what you need.