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Working from home is the new casual Friday. It's one of those perks that many employers have incorporated into their policies, but it's still not the norm and most everyone wishes it were.
Employers have several reasons for wanting to limit the amount of work you do from home. They're not just being sourpusses about the situation, even if that's what you think. Most bosses who are hesitant to expand their telecommuting policies are afraid of giving employees too much room to mess up. Think about how many business casual experiments went awry when someone showed up in clothes more suitable for club-going. All you need is one blockhead to ruin it for everyone.
Many of these fears, however, are unfounded. At least that's what Kate Lister and Tom Harnish say in their new book, "Undress for Success: The Naked Truth About Making Money at Home."
According to Lister and Harnish:
• Surveys have shown telecommuters, or e-workers, experience more productivity at home than at the office.
• Employers worry about not being face-to-face with their staff, but phones, e-mail and chat programs make everyone accessible.
• Real estate, administrative and relocation costs are dramatically lessened by telecommuting, so e-workers don't actually cost companies more money. They cost less.
Employers are beginning to catch on to the benefits of telecommuting, but many workers don't realize that their jobs can be done as effectively at home. So even if their bosses would be OK with working remotely, they never think to take advantage of it.
"Undress for Success" lists some jobs that are perfect for e-workers. Here are a few professions you should consider if you would rather have a 30-second commute instead of a 30-minute one.
1. Medical transcriptionists
What they do: When medical professionals dictate their observations of a patient's health or condition, medical transcriptionists transfer their recordings into text. You see their work on lab reports, patient histories and any other documentation that comes as a result of procedures.
Who hires them: Insurance companies, health-care institutions, medical transcription service organizations
2. Telemedicine personnel
What they do: Nurses, pharmacists and other health-care professionals provide advice to patients through phone calls or video conferencing. When patients have health questions but don't need urgent care, they can contact these experts to see what their next course of action should be.
Who hires them: Insurance companies; hospitals; doctor's offices
3. Remote tech support agent
What they do: Computer users who aren't sure why their PC shuts down every time they try to open a file need help, so they call tech support. Believe it or not, not every problem requires in-person help. As long as you have the patience, communication skills and technological knowledge, you can work as a tech support agent from your home.
Who hires them: Technology manufacturers; technology support businesses
4. Teachers and tutors
What they do: As online learning continues to grow, Internet-based instructors have seen an increase in jobs. Some teach online courses that last a full semester, while others offer seminars that only take place for one or a few days.
Tutors are a small but growing niche of online educators who offer help with homework or other coursework to students. They act as traditional, in-person tutors, except they interact with students primarily through online means.
Who hires them: Traditional and online universities; K-12 schools; certification programs; online-based tutoring companies
5. Virtual assistant
What they do: Virtual assistants are responsible for the same tasks that traditional assistants are: running errands, coordinating meetings, screening calls and clerical duties. You've probably seen high-ranking professionals who rely on their assistants just to get through the day. Virtual assistants do the same thing, except they're not in an office.
Who hires them: Companies devoted to providing virtual assistants for clients; large companies with a need for flexible assistants. Note: Many virtual assistants are freelancers in charge of their own businesses.
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