You might think that knowing how to work from home just means figuring out which companies actually offer real jobs and how to apply to them.
Of course that’s important, but to successfully work from home consider yourself first.
How To Work From Home
1. Assess What You Want and Take Inventory of What You Have
The first step is an evaluation of your current and desired working situation.
Do you have the skills for the position that you want?
What field(s) have you worked in to this point?
Do you need to gain new skills or brush up on your existing skills?
What skills have you learned in your past/current employment?
How much do you want to work (part time, full time, seasonal, etc.)?
Do you want to be an employee or an independent contractor?
Your status as either an employee or independent contractor will affect many factors, including how you are paid and how much you can earn.
What are your financial goals?
How much money do you want to make? Of course the answer is as much as possible, but consider:
Is the amount of money that you want to make realistic not only for the type of job that you want, but also for the time that you have available to work?
Do you want to replace your current income or supplement your income?
It will be helpful for you to determine the amount of money that you want/need and set it as a preliminary goal.
Will you be happy with one type of work (or one job) or do you prefer variety?
If you think that you’ll want more than one job consider employment status carefully. If you would prefer working as an employee, your schedule will likely be determined by management and provided to you, so it may be difficult to schedule time for another position when you’re just starting out.
Do you have the necessary home office setup and equipment or can you reasonably attain it?
Do you want a work from home job, a home-based business, or maybe both for starters?
2. Avoid Scams
Half of knowing how to work from home is knowing how NOT to. Scams are usually easy enough to avoid if you follow a few basic steps.
Do your research
If in doubt about a company or opportunity, research it. It’s truly as simple as that. Use your preferred search engine to look for reviews and other information.
Avoid get rich quick
Promises of thousands of dollars for easy, quick work are scams. Keep in mind that for many work from home jobs, you will likely earn very near what you would make if working from a brick and mortar location.
Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Do not pay up front
This rule is not set in stone, but it should raise a red flag in most circumstances. Many legitimate organizations will require you to pay the cost of a background check and supply your own equipment. There are some companies that will provide you with equipment.
Also, understand the difference between a job and a business opportunity. Expect upfront investments for business opportunities and other situations where you will work as an independent contractor.
Otherwise, you should not need to pay to work. If a company asks you to send money to receive a “getting started” package, or requires personal information from you before you even know exactly what the job is, either research further or run.
If you do run into job scams, here’s where you can report them.
3. Find Legitimate Companies That Meet Your Criteria and Apply
In learning how to work from home, finding legitimate opportunities will be the easy part since this site is designed to help you with that. But before you start applying for jobs, let’s demystify the process.
You will prepare and apply for work from home jobs in much the same way as you would for any other. Have your resume ready, and if you already have work from home experience make sure to include it.
Almost nothing is more important than following the directions given during the application process. If you demonstrate that you cannot follow directions, your application will not be considered.
4. Prepare for Interviews and Assessments
Interviews for work from home jobs can be very much like any other, but with one major difference… your interviewer (usually) can’t see you! The outcome of a face-to-face interview is based just as much on non-verbal cues such as body language as it is on how you answer the interviewer’s questions.
Since the “in person” aspects of an interview are lost with working from home, doing a few things that you should normally do anyway become so much more important.
When you are contacted to schedule an interview, conduct in-depth research into the company. Look for points of interest on the company website that you can use in the
One of the most common interview questions is “Why do you want to work with us?” Use the company website to help you answer this question.
• Turn off ringers to all phones.
• Interview from the computer that you will use for work because you might be asked to send system information to the interviewer.
• If your doorbell can be easily heard in your home office, place a do not ring sign on your door before the interview.
• If you have pets with a tendency to be noisy, move them from the area prior to your interview.
• If you have been provided with login instructions for the interview, ensure that you can login prior to the interview.
• Make sure that your headset, internet connection, telephone, and anything else that is needed is operational before the interview.
• Smile when answering questions. It is very true that you can “hear” a smile over the phone, and since the interviewer can’t see you (unless a prior arrangement is made via Skype, web conferencing, etc.), it makes you sound more pleasant when you smile. Don’t believe it? Listen to yourself speaking with and without smiling and notice the difference.
Be prepared to answer common interview questions.
• Tell me about yourself. (This is an opportunity to give a brief synopsis of your professional experience.)
• Why do you want to work with us?
• Have you worked from home previously? If so, what do you like/dislike about working from home?
• Tell me about a time that you… (This will be a scenario question such as “Tell me about a time that you went above the call of duty on your job.” These statements give you the opportunity to showcase your experience, your thought processes, and your professionalism.)
• How do you deal with conflict/irate customers/stressful situations, etc.?
Of course this is not an exhaustive list of questions that you may be asked, but it will get you thinking about it, especially if you haven’t had to interview in a while.
Be prepared to ask your own questions
Asking questions demonstrates your interest and professionalism, and allows you to confirm that there is a mutual fit between you and the company.
You can ask questions based on your research. Ask when they will make the hiring decision (if the interviewer does not mention it), and ask company and job specific questions as well, like:
• Why is this position available? (Ask this question to get a gauge of what’s happening in the company. You’ll find out if someone was promoted, if someone left the company, if the position is available due to growth, etc.)
• What is the primary method that your remote workers use for communication with management and colleagues? (instant messaging, Skype, etc.)
• What are the key accomplishments that are expected for this role?
• What is your (or my future manager’s) management style?
• What type of people are most successful in this position?
Tailor your questions for the type of role that you are applying for. For general/entry-level positions it may be appropriate to ask fewer and more general questions. In most cases, three to five questions should be plenty.
Avoid saying these things/asking these questions
• Do not say “I don’t have any questions.”
• Do not ask “What does your company do?”
• Do not ask “Do you monitor your remote workers?” (Of course they do.)
• Do not ask technical/how to questions about scheduling.
• Do not ask about anything you’ve heard from unofficial sources. (For example, if you know someone who works with the company, don’t ask the interviewer about insider information shared with you.)
After submitting your application and usually prior to an interview, you may be required to complete an online assessment. Some employers use assessments to attempt to determine if you will be a good fit for the job and the organization. The results of the assessment might determine if you are offered an interview.
There may be a voice assessment where you read a predetermined script so that your potential employer can hear your voice quality (if the position requires speaking to customers).
More likely, the assessment will consist of many components designed to test and measure your attitudes, preferences, behavior, aptitude for the position you are applying for, and other factors.
Question responses will be presented in various formats, such as on a true/false basis, an agree-disagree scale, and multiple choice.
A typical assessment will consist of all or many of these sections:
• you will be provided a set of questions and/or statements and asked to select the option that best describes you,
• problem solving questions in various formats,
• a simulation of the job including hypothetical situations where you will choose the best responses,
• data entry testing,
• mathematical testing, and
• language proficiency testing.
Some sections may be timed, and your completion time will be factored into your score.
The assessments for some positions are performance-based and will only measure your ability to do exactly what the job requires.
Though pre-employment assessments certainly have their uses, you will probably feel that most are a waste of time and don’t offer true insight into your ability to successfully perform the job, especially if you are a professional with years of experience. The best advice is to answer questions honestly.
In addition to online pre-employment assessments, a background check, credit check, and drug testing may be required for some positions.
If you are required to take assessments, they may be all that stand between you and an interview or job offer. Take them seriously. Allow an hour or more of uninterrupted time and be refreshed and ready to test.
5. Have The Right Mindset
One of the key components in knowing how to work from home is having the right mindset.
Many seem to forget that working remotely is still work. I’ve talked to people who were genuinely surprised that they would be monitored and evaluated, as if working from home is a free for all where you get paid to do your laundry or watch TV (though you actually can get paid to watch TV).
Even people who have a more realistic view of working from home can give in to misconceptions, or talk themselves into working situations or job functions that they would avoid if working a traditional job.
Some people let negativity get the better of them, or they let other people talk them out of what could be a life-changing work from home opportunity.
6. Connect With Others Who Work Remotely
Other home-based employees are great sources of support and advice on how to work from home, and additional resources for reviews and job leads as well. Find forums, Facebook groups, and other ways to network and exchange information with other people who work remotely.
All that’s left in this step-by-step how to work from home “system” is to do it!
Do you have any challenges in trying to find a home-based job? If you have about how to work from home, share in comments.