Today’s Virtual Workers

Despite how common it has become, there are still a lot of misconceptions about virtual work.

A lot of critics are immediately dismissive of virtual work simply because the work does not take place in a traditional workspace. Anyone who has worked a remote job, even for a brief period, can tell you the job is just as serious as working in an office space. Another misconception regarding remote work is that freelancers exclusively perform the work. While there are a lot of freelance jobs that involve remote work, there are many businesses, both large and small, that employ salaried remote workers.

There are several advantages and disadvantages of working remotely you should consider. Your fit for remote work can change over time, depending on your personal circumstances. For example, stay-at-home parents have different considerations than an employee without children. Students also have very different work needs, especially if they are living on campus. How often you travel can also factor into whether or not you want to consider a remote job.

Is remote working right for me?

Deciding whether remote work is right for you is not a decision you should rush to make. Initially, the idea of remote working looks very appealing due to one of the biggest strengths, being able to set your own schedule. However, for some employees, this goes from being one of the biggest strengths to a huge weakness of remote working. If you are a remote worker, you must be very self-motivated to create a viable work schedule. Otherwise, you end up rushing your deadlines at the last minute or missing them entirely. There are other difficulties with managing your own work schedule, such as balancing your social life with an active work schedule.

If you are a very social person, you may not enjoy remote working. There are some jobs where even when you work remotely, you still communicate frequently with other employees or clients. However, it is very common for remote workers to have only limited communication with other workers or clients. Another side effect of this is you often have to do your own problem solving. While there are typically other employees you can reach out to, you might have to wait many hours for a response. If you are the type of employee to ask a lot of questions regarding your work, you may be more comfortable in a traditional work setting.

Working from Home as a Stay-at-Home Parent or Caretaker

For many parents, one of the hardest decisions to make is whether to stay at home to take care of their child, or re-enter the workforce. Depending on your financial situation, staying at home may not be an option you can consider. A lot of parents are in the position where they need to continue earning income for the household, but they do not have enough money to hire a caretaker. Remote working is naturally appealing to parents, since it allows them to set their own schedule and work at home while still taking care of their families.

There are both part-time and full-time jobs available for parents working at home. Which career path you choose largely depends on your family’s needs. If you are a single parent, you may have an easier time balancing a part-time job while taking care of your child. If you have a partner who can swap in with childcare duties after returning home from his or her own job, you might feel more comfortable starting a full-time job. If you are unsure, your best bet is to start small to see how you handle juggling working from home with being a parent.

Working from Home as a College Student

For college students, finding a job can be difficult. Many students have sporadic schedules. Half of the week you may be going to classes in the afternoon, but the other half could be a mixture of early morning classes or late evening classes. Your schedule becomes even more complicated when you take into consideration study time, out of class time for large projects, doing research for presentations and engaging in activities around campus. Another issue for many students is travel. Some colleges will not even allow you to have a vehicle on campus until your sophomore year.

Working remotely can be beneficial to students, since it gives them much more freedom over their work schedule. However, even with the extra freedom, students may still have a hard time committing to even a part time job. For college students, working a temporary remote job may be the most viable option. A temporary job, sometimes informally referred to as a gig, is different than a part time job. With a part time job, you work a small number of hours each week. With a temporary job, your work has a specific end date. For example, a technology student may temporarily design a website for a client. Once the website is completed, the job is over. These jobs are especially helpful for students who have their school schedules planned out, allowing them to schedule around finals and other large school projects.

Working Remotely While Traveling

Anyone who has to travel frequently knows how difficult it is to find work. Even remote work can be challenging for travelers. Depending on where you are traveling, you may not have access to a reliable internet connection. For some remote workers, this may not be a big deal. There are some jobs where you can perform a lot of work offline and only have to worry about getting a connection when you need to upload your work. Other jobs, such as remote consulting jobs, may only rely on phone calls. In this situation, cell reception is still an issue.

If you are traveling overseas, there are additional complications with remote work. You will have to learn all about different fees for using internet and phone services outside of the United States. You may also have to invest in different plugs for your technology. If you ever have to arrange meetings with clients or other employees, you must take into account different time zones.

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