How to Find Work-at-Home Jobs
Working from home is recognized as a steadily growing, worldwide trend, whether as an employed remote worker or as a self-employed business owner or freelancer.
In the US, the number of employees working from home was around 7% before the COVID-19 pandemic (but around 54% said they'd be willing to quit their job for a work-from-home opportunity). In 2020, this rose to around 62%, according to Gallup.
The matching upward trend in self-employment, there were 9.6 million self-employed workers in the US in 2016 and this is expected to increase 7% by 2026 (according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)), has been another factor in the increasing number of home-workers.
A work-at-home job may be the perfect way to maintain a work-life balance or reduce employee and work-place costs.
If working from home sounds like the ideal answer, the next stage is to find a work-from-home job.
There are three main ways you can do this:
If you enjoy the security of being employed but would prefer to work from home, then becoming a remote worker may be the solution.
All employees who have worked for an employer for more than 26 weeks have the right to request flexible working and for that request to be reasonably considered by their employer.
Flexible working covers a variety of working arrangements, including working from home.
Start the process by making a dated, written request to your employer. Your application should generally include:
That you would like to work from home and for how many days each week
When you would like the remote working to begin
Any previous flexible working requests you have made
Why you wish to work from home and how it could benefit the business; for example, to avoid a lengthy commute and in return, you would be a more focused and less stressed member of the workforce
Check your employment contract or the company’s flexible working policy for exact details on how to do this.
If you want to work remotely but your current employer has turned down your flexible working request or you want to change employer, then the next step is to look for a work-at-home job elsewhere.
The number of genuine, work-at-home employment opportunities out there are slim compared to the number of people wanting to work remotely, but there are ways you can improve your chances of finding and landing such a role:
Change your LinkedIn profile to make it clear that you are looking for a remote working position. Check that your profile is up to date too, whether that is skills, qualifications, work experience or a photo.
Do a job search on LinkedIn for work-at-home jobs.
Look out for businesses that employ remote workers. Even if they do not have any positions available at the moment, it might be worthwhile getting in touch. Many businesses avoid advertising their vacancies.
Visit job sites that list remote working employment opportunities.
Do an online search for work-from-home jobs. The benefit of doing this over visiting individual sites is that search engines like Google often pull from websites that are unknown to you.
One note of warning though, always watch out for scams and MLM (multi-level marketing) opportunities as both can lead to the loss of your hard-earned cash.
Maybe your route into working from home is through self-employment. Whether that is starting your own business and hiring employees or setting up as a freelancer or contractor.
Many parents decide to work for themselves to allow for more flexibility around childcare and family commitments, but equally, self-employment can be the fulfilment of a passion.
When working for yourself, you take on all the risks, but you also enjoy all of the benefits:
- Setting your own routine
- Deciding which skills to use and what projects to take on
- Working with clients you want to work with
The starting point should always be to work out whether you can afford to set up as self-employed.
What would the setup costs be? How long would it take to start making an income and can you cover that period with savings, other income or your partner’s income? Can you make sufficient money from self-employment to cover the bills?
If self-employment still seems like a viable option, the next thing to consider is what you will do.
What skills and experience do you already have that you could use? What industries are you knowledgeable about? Where does your heart lie?
Salaries can vary for any job, especially when you are self-employed, but generally, the more profitable work-from-home jobs include:
- Web Developer
- Financial Adviser
- Medical Writer
- Technical Support Specialist
- Graphic Designer
- Social Media Manager
- Virtual Assistant (VA)
- Travel Agent
- Event Planner
For more information on these roles, read 20 of the Best Work from Home Jobs.
Whether you are looking for remote work as an employed person or a work-from-home self-employed opportunity, knowing where to look for work-from-home jobs is key.
Job sites that concentrate on remote working opportunities include:
You can also find work-from-home jobs on more generalized job sites:
Unfortunately, there are work-from-home job adverts that are scams and designed to steal your money and identity.
The best way to guard against being caught out is to follow several safety checks:
Do you have to pay money up-front? If so, this should sound a very loud warning bell. Employment means that you get paid for working, not the other way around.
Is the business legitimate? Before you click on any links in the job advert, do a separate search for that business. Do they have a website that looks genuine? Check for online reviews of the business.
Check any links in the job advert before you click on them. First, hover over the link with your mouse. Is it the same as the text displayed in the advert? Second, does the link point to the company mentioned in the advert? Scammers will often use a website address that looks similar to that of the business website they are pretending to be.
Do they ask for personal information, such as bank account details and date of birth, as part of your application or very soon after? This may be a scammer seeking to steal your identity.
If the job advert passes all of the above checks, then it will usually be a genuine work-from-home vacancy.
MLM opportunities are everywhere, from selling beauty products or children’s books to gas and broadband, and while they are not an intentional scam, they can end up costing you money, rather than providing you with an income.
Generally, you will pay the MLM company a fee up-front to purchase a supply of their goods, which you then sell on. If you are a born salesperson, this might not be a problem, but more often than not, the only way to earn a living income is to recruit a team of sellers to work for you.
Well-known MLM companies include Juice Plus+, Herbalife, Avon, Vorwerk, Natura and Tupperware.
Top Tips for Finding a Profitable Work-From-Home Job
If working from home still sounds like your dream scenario, here are our top tips on how you can find a profitable work-from-home job:
There is no getting away from the fact that if you want to find a work-from-home job, or any job for that matter, you will need to reach out and make it known that you are seeking fresh employment opportunities.
When it comes to online networking, LinkedIn is always a good place to start. Of course, you will find job opportunities there, but LinkedIn also offers you the chance to connect with people who are in your industry.
Making these kinds of business connections is important because:
- It will provide another method to hear about new opportunities
- Referrals are one of the most common ways that self-employed businesses find new clients and work
- It can be a useful way to stay up to date with developments in your industry
- Being part of a network of professionals in your industry can provide much-needed support and advice
You will also find plenty of groups on LinkedIn that are relevant to your industry or skill set.
Other places to network online include:
- Facebook groups, for instance, Freelance Heroes and Talented Ladies Club
- Professional membership websites like ACES: The Society for Editing or ACCA
Physical networking can be useful for making connections too. Look out for local networking events on LinkedIn and all of the above.
Start with job sites that are specific to work-from-home opportunities, like FlexJobs. After that, search job sites that specialise in your industry or skill set.
Visit general job sites like Indeed and use the filter function to search for work at home or remote working opportunities.
Take full advantage of the opportunity to upload your resume to these job search engines too.
Be proactive and find out which businesses actively employ remote workers.
Here are three ways you can do this:
Go back to those job search engines and find out which companies are advertising for remote workers. Even if the advertised job is unsuitable, you now know that the company offers work-from-home opportunities.
If you find a vacancy that you are interested in, but it is based in an office or other worksite, ask the company whether they would consider making the position remote.
Finally, if there is a company you would love to work for, ask if you could work for them remotely.
It may seem a little early to think about this, but if you apply for a work-from-home job, the employer will want to know that you can work remotely.
The requirements for a remote role will vary depending on the job itself, but factors to consider include:
Do you need desk space? If so, where in your home will this be?
Do you need access to a computer and all the linked facilities, such as internet, email or a printer? Do you have these?
What other equipment is needed for the position, for instance, transport or a dedicated telephone line? Do you have this already or would you be willing to buy or rent it?
Finally, where the employer is not local to you, your job interview may be carried out remotely by telephone or, more likely, by a video conferencing call.
In the case of video conferencing, find out the employer’s preferred product, for instance, Skype, Zoom or Webex, and familiarise yourself with it well before the interview.
Whether the interview takes place by phone or video call, prepare for it in exactly the same way as you would for a face-to-face interview.
Working from home, whether as a remote worker or self-employed, is at its core a lifestyle changer.
Some people will thrive in a home-working environment, while others may find it de-motivating and lonely.
Working from home has its advantages:
- More flexibility to fit work in around family commitments
- No stressful commute
- The ability to work for companies that are not based locally
But it has its challenges too:
- Feeling isolated
- Less accountability, which may lead to a lack of motivation
- Difficulty in setting boundaries between working hours and non-working hours
Before considering whether a work-at-home job is the path for you, ask yourself:
- Why do you want to work from home? Is it a valid reason, or could the issue be solved in another way?
- Are you self-motivating, or do you need to be regularly in touch with a line manager or team leader to get work done?
- Do you have a suitable home base to work from?
- Are you happy to work alone, or do you need people around you?
- Are you good at setting boundaries?
If you have a valid reason, are self-motivating, have somewhere at home to work from, are content with your own company and can be strict at setting boundaries, then working from home may be the perfect fit for you.