Today’s Virtual Workers

Virtual jobs are any jobs performed from a home office through use of modern technology, such as email for correspondences and cloud computing for data storage, retrieval, sharing and collaborating.

With the increased ability of technology, workers are no longer tied down to conventional offices. Many are able to now work from home and make as much money as those who work in a traditional office setting. In some instances, virtual workers may even make more than they did in their physical workplace.

To clarify, those with a virtual job are expected to always work from home or somewhere other than the actual business site. If you divide your work time between a home office and your official business office, you are technically considered a telecommuter and not a virtual worker. However, virtual work and telecommuting are both types of remote work, which is any work performed away from the official business office or site. To learn more about virtual work and what it has to offer, continue reading the sections below.

Is remote working right for me?

In order to succeed as a virtual worker, you need your own space and equipment in which to work. In the best of cases, you will have your own home office that encompasses all the important qualities of a business office, such as privacy, security and the necessary equipment to conduct your work. This equipment typically includes a phone line, fax, computer, printer and Internet connection. If you do not have a home office, you still need to acquire these features somehow, if only temporarily while you work. For example, you could use your family room as an office while the rest of your family is at school or work, if you can schedule your time accordingly. Alternatively, you could do your work at a local coffee shop or library with WiFi and make use of the equipment provided there.

In addition to these material factors, there are also several personal qualities you need for working remotely. Firstly, you need to be very disciplined and self-motivated. You will have no coworkers around you or a supervisor watching over you to keep you busy and focused throughout the day. What you will have all around you are the distractions in your home, so you need to be able to stay focused to get your work done. You also need to be well-organized to work remotely, as you need to create your own schedule and pace yourself properly in order to complete your assignments on time. Without a good system, work can get lost or forgotten, messages missed and time wasted.

Working from Home as a Stay at Home Parent or Caretaker

The general distractions you already have when working remotely are multiplied when you have another person with you who you must take care of. Whether a child, a senior relative or a disabled family member, someone who needs your constant attention can distract you from your work at any moment in time, regardless of the working hours you set. You must be able to be flexible with your attention and even more disciplined and motivated to return to your work as soon as you are finished with your caretaking tasks. However, there are many benefits for a caretaker who works from home. Working from home as a stay at home parent or caretaker allows you to essentially be in two places at once. You do not need to choose between working to earn an income for your family and being at home with your family when they need you.

To succeed as a parent or caretaker working virtually, follow these simple tips:

  • Do your best to synchronize your schedule with the schedule of the person you are caring for.
  • Secure your office, file cabinets and desk drawers and do not leave important papers lying around.
  • Child-proof (or elder-proof) the electronic devices you rely on regularly.
  • Take advantage of all downtimes to accomplish work while your charge does not need you.

Working from Home as a College Student

Working from home as a college student is a careful balance of work, school and your social life. In most scenarios, your work will always come first, however, while in school, your school work must take precedence. Your remote work must be flexible enough to allow you to meet the academic and social demands of your college life first, as graduating with good grades should be your main priority. For these reasons, it is better to freelance from home as a college student rather than take a traditional remote job with set hours, as this is usually easier to manage with a full course schedule and is less demanding.

Working Remotely While Traveling

If you like to travel and hate to return to work in between trips, there is a way you can keep traveling without having to give up your job. Simply take your work with you on the road. Modern technological innovations like smartphones, WiFi, Bluetooth and cloud storage make it easy to stay connected to employers, colleagues, clients and customers and keep a pristinely organized digital workspace. In order to succeed at working remotely while traveling, you must have a marketable skill in sufficient demand, such as programming, where you can continue to be mobile while working. You could also consider work in fields where travel is an advantage, such as travel writing or photography. Keep in mind that many employers will not accept a remote worker who lacks a physical work location or home and, for this reason, many traveling remote workers are freelancers who work for individual clients on a project by project basis.

Budgeting is another serious concern when working remotely while traveling. You need to be sure you are earning more money from your remote work than you are spending on traveling, as travel can be very expensive. You need to know how you are going to get where you want to go next and where you are going to stay when you get there. In addition, wherever you choose to stay must have the facilities you require to do your work, whatever that may be. These locations may not always be easy to find, depending on where you are traveling, and sometimes they can be very expensive. However, as long as you plan and budget accordingly, you should not have any issues.

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