What You Should Know About Working from Home

telecommuting

Learn what kinds of jobs are out there and how to find them.

For many of us, working from home is the dream job – no tiring, costly commute or noisy co-workers.

The good news? More of these jobs are available at this point in time than ever before. “There has been a significant increase in the jobs hiring that allow you to work from home,” says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs, a site for telecommuting and flexible jobs. “From 2011-2012, FlexJobs saw a 67% increase in jobs you could do from anywhere, meaning at-home jobs, and from 2012 – 2013, a 118% increase.”

The top three categories? Medical/health, customer service and sales. Administrative and computer/IT round out the top five, all done mainly using a computer or phone.

Most legitimate, professional-level at-home jobs pay the same or similar wage as their in-office counterparts. “We’ve seen starting salaries range from $10 per hour to over $100,000 annually,” she says. At the lower end, jobs include Customer Service Representative, Web Search Evaluator, Administrative Assistant and Travel Counselor, while at the high end, Vice President, Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer.”

Be careful as you begin your job search and start to contact companies, she warns. “There are so many scams or too-good-to-be-true listings. Avoid search terms like “work from home” or “work at home jobs” and focus on “remote jobs, distributed teams, telecommuting jobs, virtual jobs and home-based positions.”

If hired, request a contract clearly spelling out the terms of your work, including the specific work or project you’re responsible for; deadlines, if any; pay rate; pay schedule and any other contingencies necessary. The group Freelancer’s Union has a handy online Contract Creator to help freelancers create their own contracts.

Cadence Woodland, a 27-year-old who recently moved from Utah to London, England to follow her husband’s work, helps clients as far away as Hawaii as a virtual assistant. They include a non-fiction author, for whom she manages social media and edits her website, and a Washington, D.C.-based client, for whom she provides copywriting, design help and branding.

“My lowest rate was $15 an hour when I began working in January 2013, and today my rates start at $25 an hour. Be proactive,” she suggests. “Tell your networks you’re looking for virtual assistant work and ask for referrals, and build a platform like a site or social media presence to make yourself available for hire.”

If you are working from home, there may be an impact on your homeowner’s insurance. Schedule an On Your Side Review® to see if you need to update your coverage.