Over the past decade, opportunities for nontraditional work arrangements and freelancing have increased. There are a few reasons for the growth of remote work. The sharing or gig economy has flourished, allowing almost anyone with a computer (or sometimes just a smartphone) to turn their idle time into money.
Another reason for the growth of alternative working arrangements is the technological innovation that enables communication and collaboration from a distance. Telecommuting has long been an option for certain industries. Sales, fieldwork, and bookkeeping lend themselves to remote work, and one can be productive in these areas outside of the office.
But even these traditional telecommuting jobs are vastly improved with the use of advanced video conferencing applications, video hardware, and other tools. Using technology, hybrid teams - workforces that blend remote employees with those in a central office - can work together seamlessly, as if all employees were in the same room.
With cloud-based office platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) software, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), virtual call centers, and other technologies, the modern workplace has been recast. Here are several popular remote jobs and how innovations are increasing productivity.
One job that requires little in-person interaction is programming, since much of the work involves solo tasks. Most coders and developers are part of a project team, however, so collaboration and the ability to conference beyond telephone calls are vital.
Similarly, IT jobs thrive in a remote setting. With these positions employers and clients look for expertise in troubleshooting networks, providing security, and other services, all of which can be effectively done from home.
Remote IT positions can securely connect through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and complete almost any task.
With advances in medicine and changes in how health care is administered, more patients can receive care at home. For many people, including older patients who want to age in place rather than in an institutional setting, remote visiting nurses provide optimal care at home. Nurses and other health care providers can benefit from virtual office solutions such as mobile integration with phone systems that keep their remote work connected to their employer.
Medical coding is also a popular remote job in health care. Remote access to email, office messaging and other unified communications applications help keep a remote nurse in the loop at the hospital or doctor's office.
Due to increased bandwidth and proliferation of remote-friendly shared work platforms, countless jobs are handled today by freelancers. In addition to coding and programming, there are many opportunities for writers, video editors, web producers, web developers, tutors, marketers, virtual assistants, and other skilled professionals to earn money without having to leave their homes or favorite coffee shops.
Freelance work can also involve tasks that are decidedly nontechnical, such as dog walking, house sitting, and wedding and event photography. Whether your freelance work keeps you tethered to a laptop or has you out in the park with a pack of dogs, you'll need technology to manage your workload and turn gigs into a career.
Another remote-friendly job that can either be a freelance or full-time remote employment situation is dealing with numbers. Businesses have long reached out to accounting and bookkeeping services rather than take on the expense of a full-time bookkeeper or controller.
Retail and restaurants can effortlessly export point of sale (POS) data to a file that can be reconciled with accounting and invoicing software remotely.
Lastly, sales is a time-honored field for those who enjoy working away from the office. Road warriors log miles visiting clients and prospects, becoming comfortable with setting up remote offices in hotels and at their home base. While many popular CRM solutions are now cloud-based, eliminating the need for checking into the home office, sales teams can benefit from video conferencing tools.
With services such as GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx, Zoom, Skype for Business, and many others, not only can sales meetings occur with participants strewn all over the globe, but sales employees can also more effectively present to potential customers from a distance.
Smart video conference cameras, such as the Meeting Owl, help to create a more natural meeting presence. With a 360-degree camera and high-quality audio, an intelligent video conference camera can bring virtual meetings to life, increasing sales department efficiency and success.
Remote work is not a fad, but a reality of the modern economy. With the right tools, almost any job can be effectively and efficiently done from home, or anywhere outside the office.