“Remote work is the future of work.” — Alexis Ohanian
A few years ago, working from home seemed out of reach for most industries. However, through the force of technology, a higher number of professionals today prefer a flexible working style that, in turn, allows them to be outside the bounds of a conventional office environment. At least 50% of the workforce in the U.S. operates remotely. Common factors inducing this change include the job seekers’ need for work-life balance through flexible schedules and time lost in commuting. On the other hand, employers approach remote work as a means of achieving reduced costs and better talent due to the flexibility that comes with remote jobs. For instance, American Express adopted a flexible workplace strategy through its BlueWork program to encourage employees to figure out the best workspace plan. The company not only experienced an increase in employee productivity, but also saved $10-$15 million in annual real estate costs by grouping employees into four work styles – home, roam, club, and hub, where only ‘Hub’ employees required a fixed desk, and daily presence in the office.
So, if you’re seeking to land a remote job, here are some of the top career opportunities:
Top Career Fields for Remote Work
Highly demanded fields for remote work include Sales, Education, IT, Customer Service and Finance. Remote work is feasible in these domains as most of the work can be successfully executed with digital tools. If you’re interested in a remote Sales job, communicating with clients over the phone or email will form a major chunk of your work. Since you’re not dealing with customers face-to-face, your online communication skills must be strong. Leverage video chat technology to discuss sales strategies or to update your manager and team on best practices and achievements. Some typical job titles in remote sales include ‘Marketing Manager’, ‘Lead Generation Associate’ and ‘Business Development Manager’, as these encircle tasks of developing marketing strategies, planning campaigns, monitoring social media, assisting with public relations, and communicating with stakeholder and investor accounts, which can be performed independently-away from the bounds of a workplace.
Customer service jobs are also popular in the remote world. They entail offering timely support to resolve customer concerns, therefore, you should be well-equipped with knowledge on the product or service that your company deals in. Some of the customer service remote jobs include that of a Technical Support Representative who typically addresses specific software, application or hardware queries (for example, Apple hires at-home advisors); a Member Services Specialist who explains membership benefits to elite credit card holders, bank or insurance company clients; and a travel agent who normally arranges private or corporate travels. Companies like Liveops, Amazon, Working Solutions etc. are some popular employers for such jobs. In fact, Amazon is currently planning to hire 3,000 remote workers for customer service associate role across 18 states. This role demands 20-29 hours per week, with expectations to work up to 60 hours a week if need be.
Education is an exciting career choice for those who enjoy helping people learn new things. As a remote educator, you can connect with students anywhere in the world and also provide training to adult learners. Constructing virtual presentations or individual instruction to help students learn complex subjects constitutes major portion of this job. Due to the evolution of MOOC (massive open online course) industry, the demand for distance learning is high. You can delve into part-time online tutoring or tap into global marketplaces like Udemy to share your expertise with learners by creating academic courses. Such platforms bring students and instructors together, so you can even enhance your knowledge by undertaking skills training courses that can help advance your career. With integration of Artificial Intelligence, Mixed Reality and Robotics in education, this industry has grown many folds. In fact, the US mixed reality education market is expected to cross the $6 billion mark by 2022.
If you enjoy content writing, blogging and copywriting are interesting options. Beyond a stellar writing ability, you should be able to conduct on-page SEO to maximise reach. Email and social media marketing skills are also demanded by employers in this field, including companies like Animalz, Film Daily etc. Average salary for a remote content writer is $43,585. There are certain critical skills that employers seek in remote job applicants. For example, digital collaboration and communication skills are required to share progress, build rapport, discuss ideas and offer feedback, while time management will enable you to hit deadlines. Self-directed learning and troubleshooting capabilities also elevate your candidacy for remote jobs.
A wide range of people benefit from remote jobs, from working parents, military spouses, veterans, to those with health issues or disabilities and retirees. With such a diverse workforce looking for remote work options, and more employers offering them, work from home opportunities are only bound to grow. “We like to give people the freedom to work where they want, safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they are at their desk or in their kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.” — Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of Virgin.
Several companies and startups have begun to embrace remote work. Few notable companies supporting remote work include Williams-Sonoma, Intuit, Abbott etc. Usually such offers entail positions that are 100% remote while others may require occasional travel to the office to attend meetings or present periodical achievements. While searching for positions online, using filter keywords like ‘remote’, ‘telecommute’, ‘virtual’, ‘remote based’, ‘work at home’ and ‘work from home’ will help you find job openings faster. You can search for ‘Remote-only job boards’ to encounter specific job boards featuring only remote positions. Some of the top job boards for remote opportunities include flexjobs, weworkremotely, remotive and remoteok.
A remote job lacks frequent face-to-face interaction with people. Hence, you must exploit networking opportunities on online platforms. Unlock the power of LinkedIn networking by diversifying your professional connections and actively participating in LinkedIn groups. Polish your profile by incorporating past experiences and professional aspirations. You can strengthen your marketability by attending career workshops facilitated by recruitment consultants who have a comprehensive understanding of market conditions. Apart from these, you can attend conferences and summits organised specially for remote workers on enhancing remote culture and interacting with professionals aiming to build remote teams.
Rising popularity of remote work has led to the emergence of co-working spaces. 45% of remote workers, according to the global coworking survey, shifted from working at home to a coworking venue to eliminate the isolation element of a home-based job, as well as increase networking opportunities. Employers leverage coworking space for recruiting workers from anywhere in the world, in turn, allowing flexibility to employees while earning savings in office expenses. Established corporations like IBM and Microsoft are also using these platforms so they can interact with innovative startups. Peter Korbel, the founder of StoreMe, a mobile company enabling on-demand storage of bags in retail stores runs his business out of NoMad’s Blender Workspace and says, “It’s a great opportunity to meet ambitious people starting companies and to leverage talent to help propel my company forward. My marketing team and customer support team work out of Blender as well, which makes collaborating much more accessible and productive.”
Interview and Resume Tips
If you’re sitting for an interview, prove yourself as a self-starter to the employer. State examples of working without instruction or close supervision. You can mention instances where you identified problems on your own and solved them, found opportunities and pursued them. Be forthcoming in explaining to the recruiter what your typical work day at a remote job entails. Describe how you control and achieve efficiency and productivity to deliver daily or monthly goals. It is important that you showcase to the employer your ability to deliver tasks on or prior to schedule, in order to gain the employer’s confidence.
Since communication skills are crucial for a remote job, you can incorporate bullets in your resume showcasing your past experience pertaining to the same. For instance, “Conducted 20 client calls on daily basis, communicating with customers on credit card eligibility, earning 5 accounts in a month” Here, the employer can easily conclude that you have efficiently communicated with customers to deliver targeted results. You can obtain customised guidance on exhibiting your functional and soft skills to strengthen the impact of your resume, job search, career plan and interview on the SMART VMock Platform.
As people today value workplace flexibility, remote work is gaining immense importance. In order to succeed at a remote job, you need to be efficient in time management and avoid distractions that inhibit your productivity. Remote work is more self-directed, therefore, you have the autonomy to plan your own workday and establish a sense of ownership. As stated by Bill Gates, “If you’ve got development centers all over the world, you’ve got a sales force out with the customers, the fact that tools like Skype and digital collaboration are letting people work better at a distance—that is a wonderful thing.”0