By Holly Reisem Hanna
If you've sat in rush hour traffic or rushed out the door frazzled on a Monday morning, you've probably fantasized about work from home jobs.
After all, being able to stay-at-home with your kids, while making money, and throwing in a load of laundry sounds dreamy, right? Especially when you're faced with a long commute, a business attire dress code, and the uninspiring environment of your cube and fluorescent lights.
While it’s true that most work from home jobs offer freedom and flexibility, not all work-at-home jobs are created equal.
Here’s what you need to know to weed out the good opportunities from the so-so ones and to find a job that you love and can do from home.
Common work-at-home problems:
With nearly every work from home opportunity, there are a few pitfalls to be aware of. Some are minor issues to contend with, while others are make-or-break concerns.
1. Independent contractor status
A lot of work from home jobs are on a 1099 contract basis (but not all—so you need to know your status). Working as an independent contractor means you’re responsible for tracking and paying self-employment taxes. You aren’t working as an employee. This means you’ll need to invoice, track, and report your time. You will also need to set aside money to pay the IRS for quarterly self-employment taxes because they are not withheld from your paycheck. Many independent contractors are flat out shocked by their first tax bill as an independent contractor. Read up, save up, and be prepared.
2. No benefits
Along with your independent contractor status comes a lack of employee benefits. YOU are responsible for your own health, dental, vision, and life insurance and setting up and saving for your retirement. Plus, if you take a vacation, your clients aren’t covering the bill for your time off. Be sure to take this into consideration when you're applying for remote jobs.
3. Low pay
Many work from home jobs are low paying. Add in self-employment taxes and equipment costs, and you end up trading flexibility for a smaller paycheck.
4. Unpaid training and fees
With some work-at-home opportunities, you’re responsible for your own training materials, fees, and setup. You may need to pay for liability insurance, the cost of your background check, or any licensing that goes along with the role you’re applying for.
5. You supply the equipment
Some work from home jobs require a dedicated phone line, high-speed internet, and a working computer. You may also need dictation equipment, a headset, or other specialty items required for the position. Even items as simple as pens, paper, and sticky notes are your responsibility. Be sure you know what equipment is required for the position, as these can impact how much you'll bring home each month.
So, with these drawbacks, are telecommuting jobs really worth it?
Many say yes! There are still great perks, pay, and flexibility that come with working from home. And there are plenty of companies who hire employees for work from home jobs (rather than working as independent contractors), which opens the door for benefits and other perks.
Ready to take the plunge?
Here are 15 work from home jobs you'll actually want to apply for!
Acceleration Partners is a performance marketing agency. To qualify for many of the telecommuter positions, potential candidates must live within a reasonable driving distance from a hub region: Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, Denver, or Los Angeles. Experience is required and affiliate marketing experience is a plus. Most positions require a four-year degree. Acceleration Partners offers a lucrative full benefits package including insurance, tuition reimbursement, and PTO. The pay is commensurate with experience and the Digital Marketing Account Manager position offers a competitive pay range of $60-$75,000 per year.
Founded in 1850, Aetna is one of the top healthcare benefits companies today and a member of the Fortune 100. While they’re headquartered in Connecticut, they offer positions in all 50 states including work from home opportunities. Their competitive benefits packages include PTO, professional development, and access to fitness centers. They offer a wide range of telecommuter positions from case management to technical support to business analytics. Certain positions require a specialized background (such as Registered Nurse) but others (like customer service) are entry-level opportunities and pay is proportionate but competitive for the region, experience and role.
American Express is a financial services company, best known for traveler support and credit cards. American Express has received awards for being one of Fortune’s top 100 companies to work for, a top company for women technologists, and one of the best companies for diversity. They employ over 55,000 people around the globe. Work from home opportunities are varied—customer service, travel consulting, and sales are a few of the areas where virtual work is available. To find opportunities, search by the keyword “virtual.” Employees are eligible for benefits, performance incentives, and competitive pay. Many virtual positions require you live near a service center (located throughout the U.S.). Experience requirements vary with the position.
Apple is the world’s largest technology company by revenue and the second largest mobile phone manufacturer. The At-Home Advisor position is a great opportunity to work from home while being part of the Apple community. Advisors receive training and belong to a support network to help them through any questions. Apple offers outstanding benefits, even to part-time employees including PTO, product discounts, and career development opportunities. Apple At-Home Advisors answer customer questions, troubleshoot problems, and offer technical support.
Buffer was founded in 2010 as a supplemental scheduling app to help Twitter users plan their posts. It’s now grown to a major social media management company with employees in 42 cities around the globe. While it’s a small company with a team of 75 people, they serve 4.5 million users. Working with Buffer provides an array of benefits. They offer stock options, unlimited free eBooks, annual retreats, competitive salary, health insurance and more. Positions vary from highly technical product engineering to customer and client services. This is a smaller company with plenty of personality—team members are even encouraged to share photos of their adorable pets (#petsofbuffer) on social media.
Computer technology giant Dell is another well-known company offering great work from home jobs. Dell employs over 100,000 people worldwide and is the third largest personal computer vendor in the world. Although many of the remote working opportunities are for consultants near their Texas headquarters, there are still plenty of other opportunities from New York to Chicago and even Canada. Remote opportunities vary but many require customer service, technology or sales experience and a related four-year degree. Training and support are provided and team members qualify for benefits including healthcare.
In the growing field of telemedicine, Doctor on Demand provides a valuable service to patients. Using the app, patients receive easy access to top doctors, healthcare providers, and psychologists. Due to the mobile nature of the company, many positions are available as work from home jobs, including patient support, technical support, software, finance, and recruiting. There are also many remote opportunities for physicians and psychiatrists. Requirements, pay, and hours vary by position, but the company offers benefits including a cell phone stipend.
Working for Google may seem like a lofty goal, but there are plenty of positions open in customer service, sales, technical support and, engineering. Search through the options using the term “telecommute’ to narrow your results. Google offers generous benefits including parental leave, retirement, and wellness services. Google matches employee charitable donations and offers donations to match volunteer service hours as well. Employees are offered professional and personal development opportunities and training.
Hilton has over 4,480 locations in 90 countries with over 150,000 team members. The hospitality giant has plenty of work from home job opportunities available particularly in customer care, client service, and reservation sales. Benefits packages are available as well. Customer service representatives need experience in the industry or working from home. Hilton often seeks bilingual candidates to serve customers around the globe.
While many of retail giant Nordstrom’s job opportunities are within their 349 stores and corporate offices, there are occasional work from home opportunities in customer care. Customer care representatives manage a high volume of calls, helping customers resolve their concerns such as returns and lost orders. Nordstrom has received numerous awards including being listed as one of the Forbes 100 Top Places to Work several years in a row. They offer a generous benefits package including a 401(k) match and an employee discount.
11. Neiman Marcus
Another retail giant, Neiman Marcus is synonymous with quality. They offer occasional location-specific work from home jobs (training is typically held at their corporate offices). Customer service positions require great communication skills, a phone line and an analog phone with a headset, as well as your own computer and high-speed internet. They offer paid training and instruction with competitive pay based on experience. If you’re in the Texas area, this is one to watch.
12. Sitel Group
Sitel Group handles inbound customer service calls. They offer full-time and part-time work from home positions. These jobs are state-specific but don’t worry—they’re available in 33 different states. Jobs vary depending on the client. (Sitel handles customer service for over 400 different companies.) Hours and pay may also vary based on the specific skill set requested by each client. Sitel offers regular raises, online training, and benefits for full-time workers. A phone line and analog phone are required along with a personal computer.
Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is the parent company of many great brands including Pottery Barn, West Elm, Rejuvenation, and of course, their popular namesake kitchenware stores. Their customer care positions include several work from home opportunities, which are often location-specific (due to training requirements). Associates earn $12/hour to start and receive paid training, insurance, and a generous employee discount. They also offer a 401(k) package and opportunities for growth and promotion. Customer service associates may work part-time or full-time answering customer questions, handling returns and issuing credits. Experience is preferred and candidates must pass a background check and assessment.
Known for their copiers and printers, Xerox has been around for over 100 years with more than 8,000 home-based employees. Work from home jobs at Xerox includes customer service, tech support, data entry, and quality control. They offer a Heroes@Home program with great positions for veterans and military spouses as well. Xerox offers paid holidays, healthcare, and life insurance, as well as retirement and other resources. They provide training and support for all their employees. Pay and requirements vary by position, but Xerox prides itself on competitive pay and a wonderful job environment (which extends to their work from home jobs as well).
Zapier helps people automate their business tasks using web applications. They help companies figure out which jobs are best served by human employees and which systems computers can handle through automation. They currently employ over 150 people in 17 different countries. They focus on diversity and inclusion and offer professional support to their workers. They also offer profit sharing, biannual company retreats, parental leave, benefits, and retirement. Their competitive pay is based on position with opportunities ranging from customer support to partnerships, design, engineering, and marketing.
So if you’re tired of your commute and you’d love a chance to take up one of many work from home jobs available, check out these great opportunities.
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