The History of Remote Work

Let’s start from the beginning. If remote work seems like some space aged concept to you that’s only been brought about by the rise of the internet, it’s not. In fact, working from home is what people did through most of history. It’s only since the rise of the industrial revolution in 1760 that it became the norm for people to report to work in a building each day. Throughout most of history people worked as tradesmen or farmers, often working from home. Ancient greeks for instance had professions such as potter or carpenter which would work from home offices and had the opportunity to be near their families. People are naturally wired to work at home, close to their families. And even after the industrial revolution, many Americans were work from home farmers.

Going into an office to work was the thing to do in the 1920’s – the 2000’s. And many people coming of age in those time periods have the in office model as the only world they know. But there’s a coming change. Advances in technology are helping the future shift back to a work from home world.

What Types of Remote Jobs Exist?

Right now many remote jobs are in the tech industry including software development, marketing, design, and project management. Theoretically with advances in robotics one day factory workers and surgeons could work from home. But in today’s world, tech jobs are leading the way. Additional niches where you can find work from home opportunities include sales, operations, customer support, writing and finance.

Software Development

Software development is probably the hottest high paying work from home opportunity. Software developers build web based, mobile and desktop software applications. They work off of plans and layouts provided by designers. Problem solving, tenacity and research skills are important attributes to become a web developer. With skills like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Python, C++, C, SQL and Java, your opportunities for a work from home position will be bountiful as a web developer.

Design

Before a software application, advertisement or brand is built it needs to be clear what needs to be built. Design is the critical piece here. Designers create the look and feel of applications, websites and brands. This can all be done from home, perhaps more easily than it can be achieved in house.

Marketing

Marketing roles, especially internet marketing roles offer many work from home opportunities in today’s environment. Modern internet marketers drive customers, visits or users to websites, apps or brick and mortar business locations and then convert those visits into revenue. Skill sets may include content marketing, SEO, analytics, media buying or conversion rate optimization.

Sales

Sales roles are excellent positions for remote work. Sales roles are highly results driven, so companies can easily put a numeric value on each salesmen and quantify if they are getting bang for their buck. Sales roles may be inbound sales where customers come to you or outbound sales where you reach out to customers. In either case, closing deals and bringing in revenue is the skill set required for sales roles.

Project management

Project managers plan, monitor and drive projects. They keep employees on track. They drive projects to completion. Good project managers are an essential part of a successful remote team because they make sure all of the other remote employees are completing their tasks on time.

Customer support

Customer support specialists help answer questions for customers and resolve technical issues. They are the face of the company to the all important customer. They improve client retention and are integral in the upsell process. Customer support roles can be done from home with a telephone and internet connection.

Writing

Writers create text content for websites and print media. The wordsmiths of the world tell us what’s what, persuade us to make decisions and inform us how to do things. And they can do so just as easily from the comfort of their own homes as they can from within the walls of an office. That’s why writing jobs are a popular choice for work from home opportunities.

Finance

Accountants, financial analysts and CFOs crunch numbers and track spending. They work in spreadsheets and financial software. These analytical number crunchers can pay the bills from in an office or do their wizardry at home. That’s why there are already many work from home finance positions available.

How To Find a Remote Job

The way to find a remote job is to browse remote job boards:

Remoteok.io

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Remoteok.io offers remote jobs in a variety of industries including non-tech jobs. They offer opportunities for those with the right skills to work from home or become a digital nomad. They also provide handy remote work statistics to help you follow the remote industry.

Remote.co

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Remote.co curates their list of remote jobs. These listings include web developer, designer, customer service, HR and other remote roles. They add new jobs daily so check back frequently.

Werkington.com

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Werkington adds new remote jobs daily. The site offers simple design and clear cut categories to help match aspiring remote workers with the right opportunity. Categories include software development, marketing, sales, project management, design, operations, support, writing and finance opportunities. It just might be the place you find your next remote job.

Check all three sites weekly to find the right remote opportunity for you. There are many other remote sites out there as well, so keep your eyes open.

The Application Process

Applying to a remote job is just like applying to an in-house job these days. Troll job boards for opportunities, then submit your resume, cover letter and portfolio. A video introduction can also help. The difference? While the average in-house position gets 100 applicants, the average remote position gets about 400 applicants. That’s because you are competing with a national, or sometimes a global talent pool.

Many remote positions are skills based positions. So if you don’t have experience yet, but you have the right skill set, you can build a portfolio of sample work in writing, design or web development and use that portfolio combined with the fact that you are self motivated and did that on your own in a remote environment to pitch yourself as a great remote employee.

What Is Remote Work Really Like?

For some, remote work is great. It provides a quiet environment where serious professionals can get a serious amount of work done. If you are self motivated and like to focus on completing tasks remote work is probably right for you. If you are just getting started, you can get a good sense of what remote work would be like by building a portfolio in web development, design or writing at home to showcase in your application process.

However, remote work is not right for everyone. If you need a person looking over your shoulder to get things done, thrive on competing with the person sitting next to you or relish office gossip, you lose all of these things in a remote environment. You can get a good sense of whether remote work is right for you by thinking through what really motivates you to be your best. Once you think you know which way you lean, it may be the right time to apply for your first remote job.

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About the author:

William Ellerman is representing Werkington – a platform to help connect remote companies with work from home talent, to help workers find remote jobs with one another and gain education about remote work. He has 15 years of professional experience and has worked both in house and remotely, most notably as Sr. eCommerce Analyst for AutoZone and Sr. Marketing Manager for Business.com. He has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Elizabethtown College with a minor in Professional Writing. He is certified in web development from San Diego Continuing Education and in AdWords and Analytics from Google.

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