When you work in an office, you can ask your boss about the details of your upcoming presentation when you see her in the company kitchen. But if you telecommute, she’s just another email in your inbox. From letting her know if you’re going to miss a deadline or getting clarification on an email, you’ll have to be proactive about communicating all aspects of your job and any questions you might have with her.
When it comes to a company’s work from home policy, everyone is different. Your productivity and overall success as a remote employee depends entirely on your preferred work style. That’s also the reason it’s hard to find any solid data on whether or not people are more productive at home. Anecdotally, it seems to boil down to personality type and the job you do. We’re all different, and some of us can’t fathom getting work done with a TV nearby and all our comforts of home surrounding us, while others find it a struggle to stay focused among office chatter and other distractions.
Communication personalized for individual needs is important for feedback interactions. People differ in their need for communication and their level of social connectedness to their environment, partially because of personality and temperament differences. Although the level of communication may decrease for teleworkers, satisfaction with this level of communication can be higher in some samples, like those who are more tenured and have functional instead of social relationships. Feedback and communication can also be affected by a manager’s location. The clarity, speed of response, richness of the communication, frequency, and quality of the feedback are often reduced when managers telework.
Toluna is a survey and product testing site where you can earn points for participation. Most surveys and questionnaires take 15 – 20 minutes and members earn anywhere from 15 – 20,000 points depending on the length. Points can be redeemed for sweepstakes tickets for gadgets or getaways, vouchers for stores like Amazon, even cash. Payments are made via PayPal and check.
In general, telecommuting benefits society in economic, environmental, and personal ways. The wide application of ICTs provides increasing benefits for employees, especially ones with physical disabilities. It also leads to a more energy-saving society without adversely impacting economic growth. Telecommuting offers benefits to communities, employers, and employees. For communities, telecommuting may offer fuller employment (by increasing the employability of circumstantially marginalized groups such as work at home parents and caregivers, the disabled, retirees, and people living in remote areas), reducing traffic congestion and traffic accidents, relieving pressure on transportation infrastructure, reducing greenhouse gases, reducing energy use, and improving disaster preparedness.
Work from outside your office for a few hours, either at your company’s office building or anywhere you’ll be around other people — coffee shops and coworking spaces are great for replicating the “buzz” of an office. You can also make plans to meet friends or coworkers for lunch, take a midday exercise class, or pick up the phone and call a coworker instead of sending an email.
As a transcriptionist, you will transcribe either video or voice recordings into written words. Although medical transcription is what usually comes to mind, the fact is that there is now far more need for general transcriptionists. With businesses and bloggers turning increasingly to podcasts and video to reach their audiences, these mediums are often turned into written content for marketing purposes or training materials.
At work, you had to keep your desk neat so that you looked organized—and sure, it’s always helpful to see the top of your desk. But at home, who cares if clutter collects around you? Well, don’t fall into that trap (especially video conference calls are part of your routine). While you might miss the building services team, who used to wipe down your crusty keyboard and empty your waste paper baskets every night, it’s ultimately up to you to keep your space spic and span so you can do your best work.
Individuals may differ in their reactions to the job characteristics in telecommuting. According to job characteristics theory, the personal need for accomplishment and development (growth need strength) influences how much an individual will react to the job dimensions of telecommuting. For instance, those individuals high in growth need strength will have a more positive reaction to increased autonomy and a more negative reaction to decreased feedback in telecommuting than those individuals low in growth need strength.
Work-at-home and telecommuting scams are very common; many of these job offers are scams claiming that people can "get rich quick" while working from home. In fact, these scams require an investment up front with no pay-off at the end. The problem is so pervasive that in 2006 the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) established 'Project False Hopes', a Federal and state law enforcement sweep that targeted bogus business opportunity and work-at-home scams. The crackdown involved more than 100 law enforcement actions by the FTC, the Department of Justice, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and law enforcement agencies in 11 states. In four of the new FTC cases alone, consumers lost more than $30 million. "Bogus business opportunities trample on Americans’ dreams of financial independence", said FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras. "If a business opportunity promises no risk, little effort, and big profits, it almost certainly is a scam. These scams offer only a money pit, where no matter how much time and money is invested, consumers never achieve the riches or financial freedom that they were promised." The FBI warned of such scams on February 2009, as well.
Managers may view the teleworker as experiencing a drop in productivity during the first few months. This drop occurs as "the employee, his peers, and the manager adjust to the new work regimen". The drop could also be due to inadequate office setup. Additionally, a 1999 study claimed that "70 minutes of each day in a regular office are wasted by interruptions, yakking around the photocopier, and other distractions". Over the long term, though, surveys found that productivity of the teleworker will climb; over two-thirds of employers report increased productivity among telecommuters, according to a 2008 survey. Traditional line managers are accustomed to managing by observation and not necessarily by results. This causes a serious obstacle in organizations attempting to adopt telecommuting. Liability and workers' compensation can become serious issues as well. Weaker relationships between job dimensions and job outcomes, such as job performance and absenteeism, may explain why the results regarding performance and telework are conflicting. Some studies have found that telework increases productivity in workers and leads to higher supervisor ratings of performance and higher performance appraisals. However, another study found that professional isolation in teleworkers led to a decrease in job performance, especially for those who spent more time teleworking and engaged in fewer face-to-face interactions. Thus, similar to job attitudes, the amount of time spent teleworking may also influence the relationship between telework and job performance.
The online application process for these jobs—or perhaps “gigs” is the better word, since they're all for independent contractors—is pretty simple and straightforward with very little required of candidates. Some of these opportunities—like the micro-jobs—you could very well apply and start the same day. And these jobs require very little commitment and can typically be done on your own schedule.