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The Different Styles of Telecommuting

Everyone wants to do it. Work from home, that is. Whether it’s being able to work in pajamas, or spend extra time with their children, something is prompting people to consider giving up their day job to look for this "alternative" form of employment. The problem, however, is actually finding a work-from-home job! Which companies hire telecommuters? What kinds of jobs are suitable for working at home?

Because of the widespread use of the Internet, working from home has come a long way since envelope-stuffing or craft assembly. Now, there are many opportunities to work from home. However, it is helpful to understand that not all jobs can be done 100% from the home, which is what many people envision telecommuting to be.

To illustrate, I’ve broken “telecommuting” work into four distinct categories, and also provided ideas for each of the type of work that is best suited for each style.

  1. 100% REMOTE OR VIRTUAL Virtual or remote work usually means that you never personally meet your employer or client. Your location is irrelevant. You will go through the entire application and hiring process online.

    Examples of remote work include:

    • Transcription
    • Medical coding
    • Writing
    • Online tutoring
  2. As a rule, this is the hardest category to find work in because there are trust issues for employers. You will need to be good at selling yourself on your resume. Also, competition for jobs in this category is extremely high.

  3. HALF IN/HALF OUT This category refers to work that is based from home but requires you to leave your home to complete important functions of the job. You still might never have to visit your company’s office, or even personally meet anyone that you work with. However, portions of your job must be performed away from your home. Jobs in this category will usually allow you to work around your own schedule.

    Examples of half in/out work include:

    • Court research
    • Merchandising and mystery shopping
    • Sales
    • Real estate appraising
  4. MAKING AN OCCASIONAL APPEARANCE Some companies require that you physically check in with them from time to time. Perhaps you’ll need to receive in-person training, or attend periodic meetings or conferences. If you aren’t local to the company’s headquarters, you should be prepared for occasional travel.

    Examples of occasional appearance jobs include:

    • Recruiting
    • High-end sales
    • Business analysis
    • Auditing
  5. When you show up for a company event be aware that you will be re-evaluated. Be prepared to re-sell yourself. Your boss will be wondering, “Why should I keep this employee?”

  6. LOCAL CANDIDATES ONLY Other companies might allow you to work from home, yet want you physically accessible. In this category, you will most likely work as an employee, rather than an independent contractor. (This, by the way, is a common status with the other categories.) You might need to pick up your work assignments every day or week, and then deliver completed work to them personally at a determined time.

    Examples of local candidates only work include:

    • Sewing
    • Typing/data entry
    • Pet care
    • Concierge

There is almost no limit to the kinds of work that can be done from home, especially if you widen your options. The more open you are to the various styles of working from home, the higher your chances will be of finding a telecommuting job.

-Pamela La Gioia

Copyright 2004, Pamela La Gioia

Pamela La Gioia is Founder and Administrator of Telework Recruiting, Inc. (www.teleworkrecruiting.com ), a premier job-lead web site that provides thousands of job leads and job resources for the US, Canada, and the UK. She is currently writing a workbook on telecommuting, which offers step-by-step guidance on finding real home-based employment. Questions or comments are welcome and can be sent to Pamela at pam@teleworkrecruiting.com