COVID-19 forced millions of employees to do their jobs from home instead of the office. For those who want to continue working remotely — or those who’d like to give it a shot — there’s never been a better time to try.
Working remotely, or telework, grew by 73% in the six years preceding the pandemic, and 25% of U.S. workers work from home either full time or part time, said Anne Nowak, program director for the East Baton Rouge Parish Library Career Center.
Pandemics don’t last forever, she said, but this trend looks like it will.
This is especially the case for workers in high-tech jobs such as software engineers and designers, who can work anywhere with a laptop and internet connection, Nowak said.
“The more of a specialty you have, the better, because those will be your best-paying jobs,” she said.
The other two hottest areas are customer support and health care, in which giant companies like UnitedHealthcare and Aetna are hiring professionals such as nurses to handle case management and provide expertise to determine if patients are receiving appropriate care, Nowak said.
The opportunities are in three categories: traditional, full-time employment with benefits; self-employment, such as writing, tutoring and blogging; and freelance work.
Some of the biggest companies hiring remote workers include the VIPKID teaching platform; Appen, speech and technology services; Conduent, business process services; Rev, transcription service; and Liveops, call center.
The appeal for workers includes not having to commute or follow dress codes, not having a supervisor looking over your shoulder and schedule flexibility, Nowak said.
Pitfalls include lack of interaction with others, no clear boundary between work and personal time and, for those not getting jobs with benefits, the need to keep up with taxes that aren’t deducted from paychecks, she said.
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“There’s so much variety there,” Nowak said. “Some people just want to top off their earnings, or maybe stay-at-home moms want to work a little bit in their fields, so they just do a few hours here and there online.”
Online marketplaces such as upwork.com, workmarket.com and fiverr.com allow people who want to work remotely to advertise themselves. Legitimate websites that help workers search for remote opportunities include ratracerebellion.com, indeed.com, flexjobs.com, weworkremotely.com, remotive.io, outsourcely.com and angel.co. Ratracerebellion.com is Nowak’s favorite site.
“It gives you all areas,” Nowak said. “It gives you the health care companies that are hiring with the full-benefits jobs, but it also gives you the little stuff. It links you to the survey-taking or the tutoring services or all the legitimate call center places or courthouse researching. It really gives you an amazing overview, and this is a website that has been around a long, long time.”
Those searching for remote full-time jobs should note that some positions being advertised are remote only until the pandemic abates. And, she warned, ignore those lucrative come-ons you see popping up on message boards.
“It if sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true,” she said. “To make $5,000 from home in two weeks is very unlikely unless you’re the hotshot software designers.”