Not so long ago, most WFH (Work From Home) jobs were lumped under the category of scams. Many even burnt their fingers. Today we have the corona pandemic lockdown situation when virtually the whole world is working from home.
These two contrasting situations give food for thought with one question looming large in the minds of both employees and employers – Is it really possible to make a career working from home?
We present here an analysis of the types of jobs that can be easily done from home to earn a reasonable income, but before that, it is important to understand the difference between the different types of WFH jobs. Another important distinction is that of an employee on the payroll and a remote employee. While the former is entitled to various perquisites, the latter is not. A remote worker who is not on the payroll, – is generally referred to as a vendor, and he may be paid per task or per project.
In order to better understand remote working, read
While a nine to fiver can work from home; that is not quite what we are talking about here. People holding regular office jobs work from home for a variety of reasons such as sickness, parenthood, and situations such as the pandemic lockdown when travel becomes difficult or impossible.
In this article, we discuss opportunities for those individuals who cannot step out for work and hence require a home based job on a permanent basis. The reasons for this may vary ranging from handicaps to caring for babies or senior citizens. Those who are in the midst of a job change or students who are awaiting results may also take up these occupations as a temporary source of income.
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These jobs require a unique skill set – called transferable skills or employable skills – which will help you not only to work from home but also throughout your career no matter which industry or organization you work in. Knowledge of these skills is also a big plus when making the leap from campus to corporate.
With that background, there are broadly three types of home based jobs – Freelancers, Contract employees, and WFH. Here’s a brief description of the three.
This is a person who works on an adhoc basis and is usually paid for his work on an hourly or per item basis – for instance a content writer may be paid per article or a fixed sum for a fixed number of articles.
This is an employee who is allotted a fixed job or quantum of work – such as data entry of X records – and is usually paid a fixed price for the entire job. Such employees work under a legal contract. A contract may also be for a fixed period – such as a year – during which the employer pays a fixed salary per month.
This is an umbrella term that envelopes the above two categories as well as employees on the payroll but working from home.
The corona virus pandemic situation has created a new category of employees – call them Permanent WFH (PWFH) – who are on the regular payroll but work permanently from home.
On a note of caution, not all office tasks can or should be performed at home – except of course, in case of emergency – such as the COVID-19 situation – because of security and confidentiality issues.
With that background, let’s see what are some of the best career options for those who would like to continue working from home post lockdown.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: A translator is a multilingual person – one who is fluent in several languages – and utilizes his skills to translate documents, texts, books and so on. He may also utilize his skills to help two individuals – such as two ambassadors from different countries – to converse in which case he is designated as interpreter. A translator may be called upon to translate online documents, physical documents, or audio recordings.
SUITABLE FOR: Anyone who can read, speak, and write in two or more languages – a person who loves languages.
TYPE OF JOB: Contract, Freelance, or Payroll (WFH).
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: Translation work is usually outsourced by businesses to freelancers. In situations where frequent translations are required, they may also have someone on contract to translate documents or act as interpreter as and when required. Translators and interpreters may also be employed by individuals from time to time. Political delegates hire interpreters to accompany them on their travels as do CXOs of multinational companies.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: Depending on the type of employment and the work required, translators and interpreters may be paid for every hour of work, every hour of audio, every page translated, or every document translated.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Translators and Interpreters are usually required to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) which restricts the employee from sharing the content of the conversation, audio, or document being translated.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: Large and small businesses hire business developers to visit clients’ workplace or home and convince them to make a purchase. The scope of work ranges from mere sales to active lead generation, engagement, and ultimate conversion.
SUITABLE FOR: Any smart and ambitious individual with good communication skills and the flexibility to attend pre-scheduled client meetings, can become a business developer; however, most positions require a high-school (SSC) or Intermediate (HSC) qualification at a minimum.
TYPE OF JOB: Business developers may be hired either on a freelance or contract basis. They may also work on the payroll of the organization visiting office only for training and reporting.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: Any business requiring selling their product or service requires a business developer. These businesses may range from corporates – hiring you for sales – to ecommerce websites – hiring for online sales – to SMEs offering specific services such as digital marketing.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: Business developers are most commonly paid a percentage of the ticket size – that is the eventual sale price – though large corporates and PSUs may have them on the payroll with a small salary and a commission per sale.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: BDEs are usually required to visit clients so it may not strictly fall within the realm of WFH rather be considered a flexible job opportunity where you can work at your own time and pace. Knowledge of the product or service you are marketing is important. Most employers provide orientation and training, however, working in a field of your expertize is a definite advantage.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: In an effort to understand consumer desires and meet customer demands, large corporate and smaller businesses alike, are leveraging VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) to manage the multitude of calls received each day. VOIP however does not eliminate the need for human interaction and this is provided by Remote Telecallers who are patched into calls using their smart phones. The job of a telecaller is to make and receive calls to or from potential or existing customers and answer their questions.
SUITABLE FOR: Any person who can speak one or more languages – particularly local dialects – fluently and can devote two to four hours a day can become a remote telecaller.
TYPE OF JOB: Depending upon who is employing you, a remote telecaller may be a regular salaried employee or an outsourcing partner paid by the hour or per day.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: Remote telecallers may be recruited by almost anyone requiring to make or receive several calls a day. Typical employers include call centres that use VOIP and have an HR policy of allowing their employees to work remotely. Freelance recruiters may also employ telecallers to screen candidate as may freelance BDEs to establish first contact with leads.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: Freelance telecallers are usually paid by the hour or by the month with the condition that they make and submit proof of having made a certain number of calls per day. When recruited by independent recruiters, BDEs or other freelancers, the payment terms may vary depending on the requirements.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORATION: The WHAT IT INVOLVES of a telecaller is vast and spread across industries and sectors. Employers range from call centres to online travel agents, IT firms requiring telephonic customer service agents, to small businesses needing to call customers on a regular basis. It is advisable to understand the requirement and WHAT IT INVOLVES as well as the terms of payment clearly hopping on.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: A social media manager – also called a social media influencer – is an individual who manages all social media accounts for brands and other businesses with the idea of increasing online visibility and leading customers to the business website. The WHAT IT INVOLVES includes creating and posting memes, managing advertising campaigns, and may include recording and monitoring certain metrics.
SUITABLE FOR: Social media managers do not require any specific educational qualification to be hired. What it does require though is a good understanding of how various social media platforms work. Knowledge of design, photography, a good command over English language, and in-depth knowledge of MS-Office are added advantages.
TYPE OF JOB: SMMs usually work on a freelance basis. However, digital marketing agencies and marketing departments of upcoming brands may hire a social media manager to manage their social presence in which case, the SMM may be on the payroll of the company.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: An SMM may be employed by digital marketing agencies, freelance content marketers, freelance digital marketers, or directly by the marketing department of the company – where the employer is a brand.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: SMMs working independently as freelancers need to negotiate the payment terms with clients. SMMs working with digital marketing agencies, corporates, or other small and big organizations may be paid a fixed monthly salary – either by virtue of being on the payroll or in exchange for a certain amount of work each month. The actual amount would depend on the WHAT IT INVOLVES agreed upon.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Social Media Marketing or Social Media Management includes a wide range of duties and it is important to clearly define the WHAT IT INVOLVES vis-à-vis the payment before signing on.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: As the name suggests, this work involves writing, editing, or proofing written manuscripts. It may involve working with anything from marketing content to books, magazine articles, newspaper columns or anything else. Proofing involves checking he manuscript for grammatical errors, accuracy, and plagiarism among other things. Editing involves toning and formatting the content for publishing. The three jobs – writing, proofing, and editing often overlap and the lines of demarcation are blurred.
SUITABLE FOR: Writing is an art and any individual who possesses this art can become a writer. That said, the job does require attention to detail, patience, persistence, and a few other soft skills though there is no real qualification required for the job.
TYPE OF JOB: The job may be categorized as freelance, contract, or salaried. The bottom line is, you can do this job from home – hence it is on this list.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: Writing may be done independent of any third party – that is to say you may choose to write a book without anyone paying you to do so and have the book published. If you are writing website and other online content, you may work with digital and content marketers as well as large brands.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: Depending on whether you are working full time or part time and who has employed you, you may be paid on a freelance – per piece basis – or a fixed monthly salary. If you are aspiring to be an independent writer you will get royalty for your published work based on the agreement with your publisher.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Writing may seem to be easy – just putting a few words together – but good writing is an art.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: A graphic designer is a person who creates graphics, images, and animations using canvas, digital tools, or both.
SUITABLE FOR: Artists who love to draw and create usually take up this profession. It may also be learned and adopted by those who work in architecture, interior decoration, real estate, and other related industries. Those pursuing digital marketing may also learn this art.
TYPE OF JOB: Graphic designers may work as freelancers charging a fixed price for each piece of art. They may also work as remote employees in a digital marketing or advertising agency that allows its employees to work from home.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: Any business requiring creation of images and artwork my employ a graphic designer. Such businesses may include publication houses, digital or content marketing firms, advertising agencies or branding agencies. SMEs that require designing of a logo and website pages prefer to hire freelancers – though some digital marketing agencies may also work with freelancers.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: Freelancers usually charge per image designed. If the work involves illustration for a book, journal, brochure, or other marketing collateral, graphic designers may be contracted to work for a specific project. Many marketing agencies and publication houses prefer to have a graphic designer on their payroll.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Freelance graphic designers may work on one off projects or work consistently with a one or two clients fulfilling all their requirements. Knowledge of software such as Adobe, Photoshop and Coreldraw is important in this field.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: A virtual assistant is just like an office assistant. The job profile includes assisting your employer in various administrative tasks such as entering data, keeping track of files, sending and replying to emails, posting on social media and so on. It may involve transcription of telephonic conversations, webinars, and online meetings.
SUITABLE FOR: While the job of a virtual assistant does not require any specific qualification good to have skills include the ability to multitask, an inclination to stay organized, and the ability to quickly understand what is required. You may be required to set aside a certain time during the day for online sessions with your employer for reporting and assigning new work.
TYPE OF JOB: Many companies now hire virtual assistants to save on HR costs so if you are working as a VA you are likely to be on the payroll of a company. Many also work as freelance VAs to other freelancers – such as freelance recruiters, digital marketers, and so on.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: As mentioned above, virtual assistants may be employed by companies, small businesses, or freelancers.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: If you are working for a company or business on their payroll, you will receive a fixed salary. If you work as a freelance VA payment structure will depend on the agreement you sign with your employer.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: The thing to bear in mind when working as a virtual assistant is the amount of time you can devote to the work. Companies who onboard you on their payroll will expect you to devote a fixed number of hours per day – most likely at a fixed time. Freelancers may be able to work on their own time.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: A transcriber – also called a transcriptionist – is an individual who listens to audio and types it into MS-Word or other editor. Prior to the digital era, this job was done using pen and paper with the audio being played on audio tapes, CDs or DVDs. These days, digital audio links are used.
SUITABLE FOR: Any educated individual who can understand the language spoken and has the skill to type quickly into MS-Word can become a transcriber.
TYPE OF JOB: Transcriptionists in India for the most part work as freelancers. However, healthcare institutions have now begun hiring transcribers to transcribe patient records and reports.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: Medical institutions such as hospitals and diagnostic centres employ transcriptionists to type out patient records and reports. Marketing institutions also employ transcribers to transcribe survey reports and interviews. Transcribers may also be employed by magazinines, ezines, newspapers, and publication houses. Some freelance surveyors may also require transcription services as well as corporate event managers.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: If you are working freelance, you will most likely be paid per hour or minute of audio. If on the other hand you are on the payroll of a business, you will receive a fixed monthly salary.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Transcription requires a quiet uninterrupted environment to work. Specialized software is available to make your work easier. You will also require a good set of head phones to be able to hear clearly. In-office transcriptionists are provided specialized equipment such as a foot pedal to move the audio forward and back. There has also been an outcrop of transcription agencies who recruit freelancers to complete the work of their clients.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: Any person who conducts surveys is known as a moderator. A moderator is an individual who asks relevant questions about the subject matter of the survey. Surveys may be conducted for research, marketing, or other purposes. The WHAT IT INVOLVES may be limited to conducting the survey or may extend to transcribing the recorded survey, collating the information, and submitting a consolidated report.
SUITABLE FOR: An individual with good communication skills, a knack of extracting information, and a flair for reading between the lines of what is said, can become a moderator. Metalinguistic skills and other soft skills such as attention to detail, ability to read body language, as well as knowledge about recording equipment and MS Office are an advantage.
TYPE OF JOB: Moderators or survey takers may work independently or be attached to an organization such as a marketing or branding agency or a healthcare institution.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: An organization or business that requires surveys on a regular basis may have you on their payroll. Smaller businesses such as marketers or branding agencies often work with freelancers.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: If you are on the payroll of an organization, you will receive a fixed salary and perhaps a commission or expenses for every survey conducted. If you are going it alone, you may be paid by the hour or per project.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Conducting surveys requires a closed space – such as a conference room – where participants can gather to discuss the subject of the survey. It also requires sound recording equipment such as lapel or table microphones for each a recorder and other related equipment. Freelancers may request agencies hiring them to provide the infrastructure in exchange for a lesser payment.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: A software tester is a person who tests any new app, program, or website for bugs and malfunctioning.
SUITABLE FOR: Any person who loves surfing the web and playing with gadgets – a digital freak if you will – can become a software tester.
TYPE OF JOB: Software testers who work from home usually work as freelancers. Some big companies prefer to have in house testers because of confidentiality issues.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: Software testers are employed by software development companies to test their apps, programs, packages, and websites. Freelance website developers may also tie up with freelance testers for testing the websites they develop.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: Testers are usually paid either by the hour or per project. They may also work as regular employees drawing a monthly salary but working from home.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Software testing involves confidentiality therefore testers may be required to sign NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) to ensure secrecy of the product. For this reason, some large companies prefer testers to work from office rather than home.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: A Vlogger (read Video Blogger) is a person who creates and posts informative videos. These videos may be on any subject from cooking and housekeeping to use of technical devices. Videos are uploaded on popular social media – most commonly YouTube – for public viewing. Income is earned through strategically placed advertisements or creating promotional videos.
SUITABLE FOR: Any person with a presentable personality and good communication skills can become a Vlogger.
TYPE OF JOB: Most Vloggers start off as independent freelancers – initially creating and uploading videos for free. Gradually they grow to become professional freelancers. Vloggers working with digital marketing companies may be paid a monthly salary though this is rare.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: As mentioned, most vloggers start off independently. They may later be approached by brands to promote a particular product or service or by digital marketing companies to create videos for the clients of the company. Branding and advertising companies may also require the services of a vlogger.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: Vloggers may be paid per video or per advertisement placed in a video.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: In order to make a video, you will require a good quality camera and recording equipment, which requires considerable investment.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: A corporate trainer is an individual who trains corporate employees on skills such as communication, software, and so on.
SUITABLE FOR: Any individual possessing the skills to be taught – such as soft-skills – can become a corporate trainer.
TYPE OF JOB: A software trainer may work as an independent freelancer or may work with a training establishment either on their payroll or on a contract basis.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: Large corporates usually outsource their training to institutes who in turn hire trainers for specific skills or subject matter. Smaller businesses may also require corporate trainers for employee training programs.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: Corporate trainers are usually paid by the hour for specific training sessions.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: If you have a particular skill that you can teach, you can become a trainer for that skill. There has recently been an outcrop of training for school-going and college students. Such training companies operate out of their homes recruiting homemakers and freelancers as trainers.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: Search Engine companies like Bing sometimes employ people to evaluate their engines. You may be asked to search for a particular product or service and check if relevant searches are thrown out.
SUITABLE FOR: Anyone who loves to surf the internet can do the job. However, a certain aptitude is required to understand the search requirement and the results that are displayed.
TYPE OF JOB: Search Engine Evaluators are usually freelancers working on their own time.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: Companies like Google and Yahoo will usually employ search engine evaluators.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: Search Engine Evaluators are usually paid by the hour.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Search Engine Evaluators should not be confused with SEO – Search Engine Optimizers nor should they be confused with software testers.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: An online tutor teaches her students via the internet instead of in a classroom or at her home. Software called Learning Management Software (LMS) are used to teach online. Some online tutors use pre-recorded videos to teach their subject matter. Tutoring may be done for school or college curricula as well as for other courses.
SUITABLE FOR: Any qualified or experienced teacher who has the ability to learn and understand the online tools can become an online tutor.
TYPE OF JOB: Online tutors may work as independent freelancers or with digital education institutions.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: As an online tutor you may work independently or you may be approached by institutions offering online training or distance education. Such institutions have the digital set up in place and trainers who can help you use the tools.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: Online tutors – like offline tutors – are usually paid by the hour. If you are using pre-recorded video, you may be paid per video. Some educational institutes may prefer to pay a fixed monthly amount for a certain number of sessions each month.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: While teachers teaching in schools must hold a B.Ed. degree, online tutors are often subject matter experts teaching the skills or subjects they are experienced in.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: An online reseller is an individual who sells products online. A number of companies have introduced a new form of selling online through an app. The reseller is required to download the app and share the products on various social media. It is the responsibility of the reseller to negotiate the price, answer any queries, and convince the customer to make a purchase.
SUITABLE FOR: Reselling can be done by any individual who has some time to spare and has the ability to communicate well.
TYPE OF JOB: Resellers usually work independently.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: Brands that do not have a brick and mortar shop usually employ resellers in an effort to promote online sales. Up and coming brands may also employ resellers.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: Online resellers usually quote a price that is higher than the company price. The difference is their reward or commission for making a sale.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: It is important to verify the source before signing up as a reseller because you will be required to share your account details for receiving payment.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: A mystery shopper is an individual who visits a retail store, super market, bank, or other service-oriented place of business with a view to assessing customer experience. As a mystery shopper for super store for instance, you would be required to visit the store and make dummy purchases, make enquiries about certain products, and perform certain predetermined tasks. You will be told to rank or measure them on a given scale and submit a report of your experience.
SUITABLE FOR: Anyone with a little time to spare and an aptitude to understand and execute what is required can become a mystery shopper.
TYPE OF JOB: Mystery shoppers usually work as independent freelancers on contract.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: Big brands, branding companies, marketing or digital marketing agencies, and service-oriented institutions – such as banks or insurance companies – may employ you as a mystery shopper. Some ecommerce stores have also begun recruiting mystery shoppers.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: Since mystery shoppers are usually freelancers and a commitment of a few hours is inherent to the job, they are paid by the hour.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Mystery shopping may lure many with the possibility of shopping for their favourite products. However, it is important to bear in mind the purpose of the job and the fact that you will be required to collect and collate data, and present a report.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: Software or web developers are people who make websites, apps, and other software.
SUITABLE FOR: Writing software programs, apps, and building websites requires knowledge of one or more coding / programming languages. Therefore, only people who possess this knowledge can do the job.
TYPE OF JOB: Software developers may work with software companies, web-designing agencies, as regular employees, or they may work independently as freelancers. Some may even work under contract for specific projects.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: Software companies and web development agencies may recruit software developers on their payroll. Developers may also be hired by digital marketing agencies to fulfil client requirements.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: If you are working with a particular agency or company you are likely to be paid a fixed monthly salary. If on the other hand you wish to work as an independent freelancer, you will usually be paid per project.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: If you possess the skills required to be a developer and wish to work from home, bear in mind that you will require a high end computer – perhaps a server – and a set of software to do your job.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: An OTA is a travel agent who makes online travel bookings and other arrangements for people who are planning to travel. Consultants may specialize in a particular destination, domestic travel, or may be open to international travel. OTAs may also offer associated services such as visa assistance, custom clearance assistance, currency exchange, and even cross cultural training.
SUITABLE FOR: Anyone with a good grasp on geography, tourism, and procedures for travel can become an OTA. An IATA (International Air Transport Association) certification is an added advantage.
TYPE OF JOB: Most OTAs work independently or affiliate with other service providers in the travel and tourism industry to better serve their customers.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: You may work independently or you may work with an OTA agency performing specific tasks.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: Payment for OTAs is usually a percentage of the final ticket price of the deal depending on the services provided.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Travel consultants who are extremely proficient in the travel and tourism industry may create a network of affiliates and offer clients a complete package of services.
WHAT IT INVOLVES: As the name suggests, a data entry operator is someone who enters data. This data may be entered in excel sheets, online forms, word files, or other software.
SUITABLE FOR: Any person with a basic knowledge of MS Office and internet can do the job.
TYPE OF JOB: DEOs usually work independently from home. However, some companies do hire DEOs full time for a salary. In such cases depending on company policy, the DEO may or may not be allowed to work from home.
POSSIBLE EMPLOYERS: Any big of small business requiring entry of large volumes of data may recruit DEOs.
PAYMENT STRUCTURE: DEOs who work from home are usually paid per unit of data entry – say per record or per word document page. Those working on the payroll of a company will receive a monthly salary.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION: There have been a number of scammers posing as DEO agencies. It is important to verify the recruiter before signing on. Also, some scammers request a deposit as security against non-performance. Bear in mind that no recruiter will every request payment for recruiting you.
This list of WFH jobs is by no means comprehensive. It is important to understand that while this list represents jobs that can be done from home, it is not a guarantee for payment or substantial income. Too, the amount of income that a work from homer makes depends on several factors including their own capability and the amount of time they can devote to the work.
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