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Go from being a couch potato to a couch professional, all while making money and enjoying a flexible schedule.

Image via Tess Stromberg

The formula for the typical nine-to-five job is mundane: Throw in some groggily coming into consciousness at seven or eight in the morning, add a little running around to get showered and dressed and top it off with some rushing off to work, barely making it on time.

The excruciating combination does not end there. Next, throw in a little don’t have time or energy for anything else once getting off work, and a person often finds themselves wishing they had a different job, or at least an opportunity for some downtime. Being stuck at work all day isn’t ideal for anyone, but it becomes especially troublesome when work takes up all of your time.

Remote jobs are becoming more common as technology advances, giving telecommunication room to spread its wings. No longer must an employer fish from the local springs of their community. Now, companies can grab talented potential from different parts of the world, advancing their reach and providing the opportunity for countless souls who may not be able to travel for work.

The Birth of Remote Work   

Working from home, through the use of telecommunication, is not a new concept and has actually been floating around for some time. In fact, since the 1960s, Xerox has offered telecommuting options for its employees, which gave them the opportunity to take home keypunch machines so they could perform data-entry work. Other companies, like Dell and Aetna, have also been pioneering their way through the world of telecommunication.

Image via We Are Beem

Here’s the picture statistics show: Xerox, who employs well over one hundred thousand employees around the world, has eight thousand employees, about 11 percent of their workforce, work remotely 100 percent of the time, and thousands of other employees have the option to telecommute on an “as-needed” basis. Aetna employs about forty-eight thousand people and has at least, in some shape or form, 43 percent of them performing remote work. Dell, a company many know and love, employs around one hundred thousand people, and at least 20 percent of their workforce telecommutes. Xerox, Aetna and Dell have the right idea, and the idea infected other companies, allowing the number of remote workers to climb higher and higher.

From 2005 to 2012, while there had been a major decline in the total number of Americans in the workforce, America saw an 80 percent increase in its telecommuting workforce, showcasing the renovation of work environment as folks went from stuffy offices and rolling chairs to the comfortable padding of the couch and feet on the table. Yahoo, as well as other companies, uses the allure of working from home to attract top talent, boost productivity and offer a refuge to overextended employees. With the virtual world expanding and evolving, stepping out of the office and into the home for work makes a lot of sense and proposes a lot of conveniences.

The Flexibility of the at-Home Worker   

For most people, days feel too short and their to-do list seems too long, especially if most of the day is spent wasting away in the office, pretending to work while checking Facebook and playing Candy Crush. Time, while never in abundance, is easier to manage, for some, when working from home.

At home, no one sets the schedule. The work day does not start at nine and end at five like the typical eight-hour shift. So there is none of the jerking awake from fear of being late, praying traffic flows quickly and sneaking in just before the boss comes around.  Work begins when the employee chooses to start the work day, charting out the day’s tasks and blocking out specific amounts of time for each task while basking in the comfort of home.

If they wanted, an employee could begin work in the wee hours of the morning and free up the entire rest of their day, or they could use the light of day to enjoy themselves and burn the candle late at night. As long as the employee is able to take care of their responsibilities in a timely fashion, few bosses will ever care when or where they are working.

Still, there are many critics who doubt that working from home can yield the same level of productivity as working in an office environment. Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford University economics professor, also posed that question, as he believed at-home employees would do less working and more shirking; so, he devoted nine months of his life to studying the work habits of a Chinese travel center called Ctrip. His findings proved that at-home workers didn’t perform at the same level as on-site workers; no, at-home workers outperformed the on-site staff, proving the efficiency of working from home.

Bloom and his team learned that the Ctrip employees who worked from home were more productive in a given week than they’d been when they worked at the office. In fact, on average, an at-home employee made 13.5 percent more calls per week than the staff who worked in the office, which translated into roughly a whole extra work day every week.

Not to mention, Ctrip’s at-home employees also showed signs of having a higher rate of job satisfaction. Sometimes, a change in scenery and schedule make all the difference in proficiency.

Why Work from Home?

Working from home is not for everyone. At-home jobs are best suited for people with strong time-management and communication skills. However, even with the necessary skills, why would anyone want to work from home?

Convenience. Opportunity. Necessity.

The convenience of working from home allows the employee the blessing of flexible work hours. Who doesn’t need the occasional flexibility in their schedule? For students who cannot work full-time, finding a full-time or part-time remote job might be the best step. With a flexible schedule that requires no commuting and can be adjusted to fit your classes, remote work makes a lot of sense for students, especially since most undergraduates find themselves complaining of being strapped for cash.

Opportunities spring from remote jobs, which lead to money, yes, but also to valuable connections. Telework affords employees the ability to search for work in their intended field and grab available jobs to add to their resume. Not to mention, even internships have also shifted into the telecommuting realm, giving students the chance to gain experience without having to worry about the cost of travel.

Plus, sometimes, traveling from home to the office is just not possible. The need for work does not vanish because a person is unable to make their way to the workplace. Remote jobs are a necessity for people who cannot make the journey, whether from lack of transportation, their responsibilities as a caregiver or other dire circumstances that prevent them from easily leaving their house.

Whatever the reason one might choose to pick up a remote job, the potential to work from home in various fields has become a reality. There is now one less reason to be unemployed, so take advantage of it.

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