SafetyCulture Summit 2020

Work from Home

Everything you need to know about work from home: advantages and disadvantages, job types and top companies, and tips on how to work from home effectively.

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Published May 28th, 2020

What is Work from Home?

Work from home is the concept and practice of accomplishing tasks to earn income from one’s private residence. As a policy, top companies allow their employees to temporarily or permanently work from home under certain conditions. As an opportunity, different types of work and businesses can be done and managed from home. Working from home poses various pros and cons, but when the need or option arises, it is crucial to know how to work from home effectively.

Work from Home Advantages and Disadvantages

The concept of working from home already existed before the industrial revolution, and it is not just a growing trend in the past couple of decades. As managing the home also meant managing resources, a work-home environment seems practical and cost-efficient for most families and communities.

However, the benefits of working from home comes with some drawbacks, and understanding both of the advantages and disadvantages can help people to decide if working from home is the right work style for them.

Time

According to an annual survey conducted since 2013, work-life balance continues to be the top reason people seek flexible work, or being able to work from home and have control over their schedule. Take a look at these advantages and disadvantages of working from home in terms of time management:

Advantages

Disadvantages

Set your own work hoursTendency to overwork
More time for yourself and familyMore prone to procrastination
No need to commuteDifficulty sticking to a routine

Income

Last year, an annual remote work research showed that those who work from home are twice more likely to earn salaries higher than $100,000 a year than on-site workers. The possibility of making more money while staying at home attracts a growing number of people, but consider the following financial advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages

Disadvantages

Same or more pay than in-office counterpartPotential ebb and flow nature of income
No planned or unexpected eat-out expenses, commute fares, and parking feesIncreased groceries, food deliveries, and home utility bills
Tax breaks for freelancers and self-employedMiss out on corporate office perks e.g. company-issued car or phone

Workspace

A global workspace study recently found out that 54% of people think having a choice of work location more important than working for a prestigious company and having an increase in holiday allowance. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of work from home when it comes to workspace:

Advantages

Disadvantages

Freedom to work in any locationStruggle to set home-work boundaries
Environment-friendly, personalized workstationsInadequate or unreliable office equipment and data security issues
More comfortable working conditions, including attirePersonal privacy and ergonomic problems

Workflow

Global respondents of The Workplace Revolution confirm that working from home puts productivity at risk45% find it hard to concentrate. The report also revealed that 77% of millennials claim that flexible work would make them more productive. Is working from home good or bad in getting the job done? Here are the advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages

Disadvantages

Fewer interruptions from colleaguesDistractions from family, pets, and chores
Working independently and under minimal supervisionRisk of unrecognized efforts and mediocre performance or poor quality of work
Less frequent and more efficient meetingsDelayed access to or approval for tools, documents, and other requests

Relationships

Based on another annual remote work survey in 2019, the biggest struggle with working from home is unplugging after work, or to disconnect from work-related matters and relax. Social isolation is also associated with sleeping problems, depression, and early mortality. Think about the following relational advantages and disadvantages when working from home:

Advantages

Disadvantages

Working while taking care of parents, children, or petsChallenging to collaborate with and get feedback from peers
Minimal office politics and dramaHigher likelihood for miscommunication and misunderstanding
Remotely maintain built relationships within the company or among clientsProne to boredom, lack of motivation, and feelings of isolation or loneliness

Types of Part-time and Full-time Work from Home

Upon weighing the pros and cons, knowing exactly what kind of work can be done from home helps people, especially pet owners and stay-at-home mothers, determine if they should try doing part-time work first, or 4 hours per day for 20 days, or pursue doing full-time remote work, or 8 hours a day for 20 days.

Whatever the case, there are diverse types of decent-paying work from homesome jobs can be done even without actual work experience. Reflecting entry-level average U.S. pay data from a compensation research firm, curated below are 10 categories of work from home organized by level of skill and commitment, from easiest to most difficult.

Data Entry

If you have a high school diploma, a laptop, and stable internet connection at home, then you can easily apply for a remote data entry role and earn an average of $13 per hour. Data entry is simply inputting numeric or alphabetic information from one medium to another. In a work from home data entry job, you can earn an average of $1,040 every month if you work part-time.

As a transcriptionist, or someone who listens to audio or video recordings and transcribes the information into reports or documents, you can earn up to $15 per hour. In a part-time work from home transcribing job, you can earn up to $1,200 every month.

If you are fluent in at least two languages, then consider being an online translator from the comfort of your home. The average hourly rate is $20, so you can earn as much as $3,200 monthly if you work from home full-time.

Virtual Assistance

Usually, a virtual assistant handles computer-mediated communication as customer service representatives or provides administrative services to support the operations of entrepreneurs and online businesses. From a remote location, you can perform clerical work such as organizing to-do lists and calendars, booking travel arrangements, and preparing reports.

Sometimes, virtual assistance entails basic email management and digital marketing tasks like answering general questions and follow-ups or scheduling social media posts. The average virtual assistant hourly pay is $15, and as your part-time work from home, you can get an extra $1,200 every month.

You can also earn an average of $18 per hour by bookkeeping as a virtual assistant. As a work from home certified public accountant, you can earn as much as $20 per hour. Since the rate can be applied per client, you can undoubtedly earn more as you perform accounting for many individuals.

Written Content Production

For blogging, or writing about your views on an individual subject in an online journal format or informational website, you can earn an average of $20 per hour. Oftentimes, the pay can be on a per piece basis, receiving an industry-standard $50 for a 500-word article. However, if you can write an 800-word article in 30 minutes, then your hourly rate can skyrocket to $250.

Though it might require some relevant work experience under your belt, editing, and proofreading, or improving a draft by correcting errors and making sentences clearer, not only can cause you to read and learn about a lot of different things, but also bring in extra $19 per hour in the process.

Online Education or Instruction

As an online tutor offering a student extra help in a subject, you can get an average of $17 per hour. While you might need TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification, teaching English via video calls can actually add $20 in your pocket every hour. You can gain an hourly average of $25 for being an instructor teaching online courses.

Teaching others about your hobbies, interests, and passions can be turned into an income-generating activity. An online fitness instructor can get an average of $20 per hour, while teaching music online allows you to earn as much as $28 per hour. As long as you know a craft or have a certain skill, you can always opt to let others learn from you while earning on the side.

Visual Content Production

With the ability to design logos, websites, or virtual ads and an increasing amount of experience over time, you can earn $18-424 per hour as a work-from-home graphic designer. Generally, the highest amount you can earn in this line of work from home is $34 per hour as a user experience designer, developing task flows based on user needs or creating intuitive, user-friendly software.

If you are an artistic individual who can create visual effects for instructional videos, mobile apps, and other media, then you can work at home as a freelance animator. Legitimate animation jobs usually charge on a per-project basis, ranging from $10 to $1,000 and lasting from less than a month to more than 6 months, depending on the effort poured into the output.

You can also get around $1.50 per day if your Youtube content generates 1,000 views.

Information Technology

Web development, or building, testing, and maintaining websites, is undoubtedly one of the most flexible types of work from home because it can be done anywhere with computers and internet access. Full-time work from home web developers can earn an average of $20 per hour, or as much as $40 per hour for extensive experience using CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.

Basic knowledge about widely-used computer programming languages like C++, Ruby, and Python can allow you to end up as a software engineer with a minimum of $32 pay per hour and reach an estimated $58 hourly rate for advanced freelance software development jobs. SafetyCulture still offers full-time permanent software engineering roles while working from home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Project Management

If you have a knack for keeping things organized, collaborating with people, and optimizing resources, then consider being a home-based project manager. As a beginner in project management, you can earn an average of $23 per hour, but as you gain experience, you can earn as much as $42 per hour for a project manager job in the information technology industry.

Consultancy

Are you an expert with the ability to give professional advice about a particular field of work? With special certifications or licenses and excellent networking skills, you can jumpstart your career as a work-from-home consultant. Listed below are 20 different types or job titles of consultants and their average pay per hour as reported by a compensation research company for 2020:

Job Title or Area of Expertise

Average Hourly Rate (USD)

Principal, or a member of the senior management of a firm122
Information Security80
Engineering73
Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing (SAP)70
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)65
Management59
Education50
Learning and Development40
Marketing39
Healthcare35
Information Technology34
Business34
Recruitment24
Small Business24
Environmental22
Financial22
Tax22
Corporate Travel20
Staffing15
Sales12

E-commerce

Starting an online retail business seems a gigantic task, especially when you have limited resources at home, but if you have a strong will to meet challenges and a keen desire to succeed, then venturing into the world of e-commerce is fit for you. To help determine suitability, try buying and selling new and secondhand goods in consumer to consumer and business to consumer virtual marketplaces such as eBay, Carousell, and Etsy.

If you think you can scale an online business, then build your own e-commerce website to maximize profits. A basic e-commerce store costs approximately $200if you have a bare minimum inventory and apply the dropshipping model, or purchasing products from third-party suppliers and shipping them directly to your customer. By dominating your niche market with the right digital marketing strategy, you can make at least $1000 in your first month of e-commerce.

Home-based Business

Successful global companies usually have their humble beginnings rooted in the comforts of a garage such as Google, Amazon, and SafetyCulture. If you strongly believe your idea can solve a universal problem, then launching an enterprise from your house can make you a household name in the world of business. You can also simply start with what you know such as selling home-made goods, catering for special occasions, and planning corporate events.

Top Companies with Work from Home

Millennials, aged 21 to 36, make up the largest generation in the U.S. workforce since 2016, and they heavily weigh flexible work options, like telecommuting, compressed work hours, and freelance work, when it comes to finding a new employer. Here are the top 5 most sought-after companies when people search for real work from home jobs online:

Amazon

The American multinational e-commerce retailer currently employs almost 800,000 workers worldwide, many of whom work remotely from home. Amazon work from home jobs primarily consist of customer service roles, and those with a high school diploma, one year of relevant work experience, English proficiency, basic computer skills, and stable internet connection can apply here.

Other legitimate ways to work at home for Amazon are through Amazon Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing platform where you can get paid for completing simple tasks such as data tagging, typing, or transcribing, Merch by Amazon, an invitation-only program where you can earn royalties for your T-shirt designs, and Amazon Vine, another invitation-only program where you can receive free products for helpful reviews on their site.

Google

Rampant scams smear the global technology organization, claiming to quickly and easily make huge amounts of money by working directly under or implementing programs endorsed by the Google company. Steer clear of being involved in schemes like “Google Cash”, “Google Profits”, and “Google Money Kit” that provide work-at-home business opportunities, products, or services using the Google name.

To apply for real work from home jobs at Google, you have to search for openings in their career page and add terms like “telecommute” or “remote” to show if they currently offer home-based positions. Another legitimate way to perform Google work at home is through Google AdSense, or posting ad feeds from businesses’ websites to your blog or website and earning for each of your site visitors’ ad clicks.

American Express

The Society for Human Resources Management, or SHRM, reported that American Express is saving up to $15 million a year in real estate costs thanks to remote working. As a financial services corporation primarily issuing personal, small business, and corporate credit cards, full-time and part-time American Express work from home jobs are easily made available through their job site and usually with collections specialist roles.

Generally, home-based customer service positions for American Express require a 4-year degree or 4+ years of relevant work experience, but they will cover your monthly telephone and internet connection bills once hired. Online reviews show they compensate their employees at an above-average rate, but the workload and hours can be demanding.

Concentrix

The global customer experience outsourcing company offers legitimate work at home jobs with no application or training fees and in-office meetings. Concentrix’s hiring process for work from home positions usually takes 7-10 days to review applications. Most former Concentrix home workers reveal that poor management often leads to not caring for their employees enough and inevitably, job security issues.

Sykes

Work from home Sykes jobs are real, especially for bilingual Spanish/English customer support roles, but even an international business process outsourcing company is not free from recruitment scams. While applying for legit Sykes work at home is simple and easy, setting up your home office might be challenging as online reviews from previous employees shared some experience about compatibility problems. Other concerns include low pay and lack of benefits.

How to Work from Home

With the different types of work that can be done from home, you probably want to try pursuing a part-time or full-time home-based career and know exactly what steps to take to be productive in this work style. After remote teams assess and control safety and health risks in their respective home offices, here is how they can function more effectively when working from home:

How Employees Can Work from Home Effectively

  • Build self-discipline

    Setting a dedicated workspace can help you avoid distractions such as social media, TV, or chores, and sticking to your routine as if you still went to an office building like getting up early, taking a shower, and changing your clothes, can help establish boundaries between your place and time for work and for yourself

  • Be proactive

    Planning ahead allows you to foresee any changes or unnecessary downtime so you can respond accordingly, making the most out of your time. Since you might feel guilty for being unproductive as a side effect of having more time spent at home, you can choose to go the extra mile and initiate to do more.

  • Boost communication

    Clarifying work-related tasks lets you set your and your manager’s expectations about exactly what should be done during this period of working from home. Collaborate more often with your teammates to prevent avoidable misunderstanding and stay connected with actual human beings other than your family

How Managers Can Work from Home Effectively

  • Managing a Team Member: structured daily check-ins and focus on goals, not activity. Think, “How are you doing?” instead of, “What are you doing?”
  • Managing a Team: over-communicate and practice rules of engagement e.g. expected frequency, means, and ideal timing of communication
  • Facilitating Virtual Meetings: keep the dialogue flowing and make decisions together; a meeting is not a monologue nor a presentation you can simply send via email
  • Facilitating Ad-hoc Communication: offer emotional support and opportunities for social interaction e.g. Friday happy hour, online board games, and virtual workouts

Working from Home Tips

If you believe that you have what it takes to be self-employed, then venture into the world of freelance or business. You can be your own boss, working anywhere and anytime you want, but these privileges also come with the risk of volatility and idleness. Take advantage of free work from home apps to increase productivity, and practice the following tips to help you become successful as a freelancer or home business owner:

Freelancers Working from Home Tips for Success

  • Self-motivate, do not procrastinate

    Delaying to do the job does not actually make it go away, but only prolonging the time it usually takes to complete it. Refrain from making yourself believe that you will accomplish more when you multitask. Focus your energy working on one project at a time, and you will have more time to take on more projects.

  • Run away from the email rabbit hole

    Casually scrolling through emails can lead to spending too much time on unimportant or nonurgent matters. It might take a lot of effort to clean up your inbox or unsubscribe to spammy emails, but it will be worth your while to be a successful working from home freelancer in the long run.

  • Assert and increase project-based rates

    Work from home freelancers can earn more by naming their price for every project, not for every hour to be spent on achieving it. Clearly specifying the quality of work to be poured into the project can encourage your clients to pay more rather than settling for a standard hourly rate.

  • Take a break, deep breaths, and long walks

    Practicing the Pomodoro technique, or segmenting your work hours into chunks with short breaks in between, can help improve your productivity, and learn to destress when things seem to spiral out of control such as expediting deadlines, adding workload, or changing details.

  • Develop your skillset, grow in your niche

    While choosing and targeting the right niche for your experience or expertise can make or break your work from home freelance career, improving your skills can elevate you to success. Upskilling allows you to earn more per project, ask more from existing clients, and reach more potential clients.

Business Owners Working from Home Tips for Success

  • Plan, but just do it

    Many home-based business wannabes usually have good ideas and some do their research, but only a few make it happen. To be a successful home business owner, one should make plans, but more importantly, have the courage to execute those plans against all odds.

  • Get the fundamentals right

    Know about the legal requirements for setting up a home-based business such as tax or zoning laws. Consult with your accountant as you might actually qualify for certain tax deductions. You can also outsource administrative services to allocate more of your time for other more important matters.

  • Sustainability over profitability

    You probably wanted to manage your own business with the hope of making more money, but it is better to focus on long-term goals, than short-term gains. With sustainability in mind, you can make wiser business decisions and protect yourself from falling for the false promise of shortcuts.

  • Master the social component

    Expanding your network and marketing your product or service, especially online, are crucial elements of successful home-based business management. Upsell and cross-sell to your current clients, having built strong relationships with them. Gaining social proof for your business means spreading credible word-of-mouth recommendations for free.

  • Experiment, fail, and improve

    If being a home business owner was easy, then everyone would have done it. Perseverance is key to success, so don’t be afraid to try new things like implementing new processes or changing marketing tactics. You can always learn from failures and improve yourself, the way you work, and your business.

The concept and practice of work from home is not new. Working from home is no longer viewed as a company benefit, but a legitimate style of work with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Whether you choose to work as a remote employee, a work-from-home freelancer, or a home business owner, knowing the way that works for you is key to success.

Author

Shine Colcol

SafetyCulture Staff Writer

Shine has been professionally writing about virtually anything since her internship for a digital publisher of niche blogazines. She is passionate about building a culture of continuous improvement in the environmental, health, safety, and quality space through well-researched, engaging, and impactful content.