Things to Consider Before Working Online

Is working on the web for you?

“Is working online for you?” is an interesting question to ask yourself before heading into online businesses, writing and graphics design. So before you take the plunge and immerse yourself in the exciting world of online work, consider the following points first.

The Job Outlook for Working Online

Let’s first take a look on the job opportunities for some popular choices for online work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the United States Department of Labor, the writing industry is pretty fierce. The 10-year (2010-2020) change of rate for writing jobs is around 6% which is rather low compared to the average 14%. The same growth rate is true for Medical Transcriptionists, another popular online job. Graphics designers, of whom an estimated 29% are self-employed, have a more optimistic outlook with 13% change of rate. With these stats on hand, you should consider first if there are enough online jobs to apply for in the first place.

Sets of Skills Needed for Working Online

You should also evaluate whether you have the right skills for your target online job. The BLS also has advice on what skills are needed to remain competent. If you plan to get a writing career then you need to have good research skills and mastery of the English language. Graphic designers, software developers and other creative workers has to be updated in the latest computer programs and techniques used in their fields. People in specialized fields such as Medical Transcriptionists also need to learn about the jargon and trends in their field.

You also need some general skills to get ahead of the competition. Verbal communication skills are a must for any type of jobs and online jobs are no exception. You still need to communicate face-to-face or in a web conference with superiors and clients alike to coordinate your work. Familiarity with computer glitches and Internet connection issues will also save you time and money by being able to troubleshoot minor online or gadget problems. Web design and development skills, although not necessary, are also great skills to help you find online opportunities.

Fortunately, skills can be learned and practiced. Attending basic writing or graphics design courses at the local college can boost your skill levels. There are also courses and programs like “Bring the Fresh” that teach online job skills that you can attend from the comfort of your home computer.

Health and Social Issues Associated with Working Online

Your health may suffer if you are not careful while doing online work. Prolonged working hours in with the computer may fatigue your eyes and cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Being an online workaholic may also lead to fitness problems and bad posture. These problems can be remedied by simply taking breaks once in a while. Setting time for exercise will also help you reduce stress.

Your social life may also suffer due to online work. Working at home denies you the company of office workers and the enriching interactions with them. This also cuts down the number of potential confidants that can help you maintain a healthy psyche. Chatting and video conferences may alleviate some of the issues about isolation but nothing replaces real life interactions. As such, you should still need to go out with friends and colleagues once in a while to balance the social isolation caused by your work.

Issues on Time Management

Working online may help you cut costs from the daily commute but may eat other resources such as time instead. The loss of valuable working is due to the many types of distraction. MindMetre Research, in a project developed with Regus, found that 59% of work at home people were distracted by family issues while 43% of them experience difficulty in concentrating on the tasks at hand. Good old-fashioned self-discipline and discussions about your job with your family can help you solve time management issues.

We hope that these factors can help you find out if you could answer yes or no to the question “Is working online for you? “. Career growth can affect all parts of your life so consider these factors wisely before working online.

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Use Strategy and Relocation to End Unemployment

relocated-employee-moving-into-new-office

Modern times call for modern measures and efforts. Since unemployment seemingly touches at least one member of most families, finding a job is becoming increasingly harder. This is at least true for the densely populated areas of the US. This is why so many individuals, couples and families are packing up and heading for the larger cities.

Larger cities seem to hold the most promise for finding eligible employment. Some of the types of jobs include white color positions, technical positions, construction, real estate, human services, as well as plenty of minimum wage positions. People that are familiar with customer service and sales positions can also fare well in the larger cities.

Moving to a large city or at least on the outskirts of one is becoming necessary as more and more people become unemployed in rural areas. With the economic situation being what it is, many companies in rural areas have shut down. Some have even gone bankrupt, including some companies located in larger cities. Smaller businesses also have suffered the blunt of the economy.

While most of the rural businesses have taken a hit from the economic status of our country, so have a lot of the businesses in more populated areas. Though thousands of companies have gone under, it does not totally mean people are without options. Of course having to relocate is a huge change, and takes a great deal of cash to do it, but it often is the only way to survive for some. Larger cities just seem to be the place to go to find employment.

As many people have already discovered, they may lose their position or ranking in a particular field, but it does not mean they have to lose everything. Taking a lesser paying job with fewer privileges is just something many people will have to do in order to keep their families afloat. Though these cuts in pay and status can be a tough thing to swallow people are managing to survive.

If all opportunities of employment are exhausted in densely populated areas, it is wise to begin a search in a larger nearby city. Often people are able to locate work close enough that it is worth the effort to have a longer commute. If the cost of commuting seems outrageous, it may be time to take the job hunt to a much larger city. Every state has several larger cities to choose from, some are actually considered to be the largest cities in the US.

Obviously these larger cities will hold more promise and opportunities simply because they are large enough to contain a diverse work field. Many companies, manufacturers, legal and medical offices, along with just about any other imaginable industry tend to be located in larger cities. Being located in a large city means companies can have room to grow, plenty of employees to choose from, as well as the ability to make higher profits.

Companies generally use strategic planning of some sort to locate an excellent city to set up their operations. This gives them a distinct advantage in increasing their overall profits. Just as companies have to use a bit of insight and careful planning to make their business flourish, job seekers need to do the same.

If sticking it out in a rural area means being jobless or making expensive and timely commutes it is time to move out and move on. Are you among the unemployed? Some US Cities are booming with jobs and a move might just be the answer.

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More Employers Offering Work-At-Home Positions

Teleworker laboring at home.

Recent trends indicate an increase in the number of Americans opting to work from home, be it the self-employed hobbyists, professional entrepreneurs or employees of multinational companies (MNCs) involved in consulting, customer services or software development that are now open to telecommuting. Flexible jobs are now becoming a trend; employers are allowing staff to work part-time or from the comfort of their homes for at least a couple days in a week or on a need-based manner.

There are, however, several reasons for more employers offering work-at-home positions to their employees. Let’s take a look at some of them:

  • Companies can expand their workforce across the world without having to invest in space, infrastructure or resources needed to support additional staff on their premises.
  • Working from home, employees can handle personal and familial responsibilities without having to lose out on their attendance. In fact, those who work from their homes are free to catch up with work even beyond the regular office hours, putting in more hours at work than those on a regular 9-5 job.
  • It is interesting to note that a home-office is never completely closed, unless the employee is too sick, is on a vacation with family or friends, or is faced with some emergency situations. Employees can get to work anytime they choose, and are happy about the flexibility the arrangement offers. Allowing an employee to work from home is, in fact, a recognition of sorts of the person’s ability to handle work without any supervision or monitoring.
  • The net result of the move, in most cases, is a direct boost in productivity and overall efficiency. With technology to aid interactions and communications with the rest of the working team and reporting authorities, employees working from their home offices are able to sync themselves with the work environment with tremendous ease.

These reasons, however, have been time and again proved by studies revealing some interesting statistics. Reportedly, a recent study conducted by Telework Research Network has shown that nearly 30 million (roughly one in five) Americans work from their homes at least once a week and in the next five years, this number is expected to grow by more than 60%.

With statistics further revealing that companies enjoy an annual savings of more than $10,000 for each employee working half-time from home, more employers are now offering work-at-home positions, including the US government.

It is, however, not the companies alone that benefit from the flexible work option. Employees have several reasons to celebrate, which includes but is not limited to:

  • Employees are able to save on time, effort and the fuel spent in commuting to and from a regular job. Given the distance of travel and the peak hour traffic congestion, working from home offers respite from the daily commuting drill. As a result, the fresh and unperturbed mind is much more efficient at concentrating on work and churning out the results expected by the employer.
  • Employees can now spend quality time with family. Those who need to take care of young children or an elderly person at home are now able to do so without having to worry about compromising their work-life.
  • People who love their work and are passionate about their jobs certainly enjoy working in an informal setting. It is assumed that they know how best to handle the distractions or boredom of a home-office.

The Telework study pegs the U.S. economy’s annual productivity loss at $78 billion, directly attributed to 4.2 billion hours of commuting.

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Do You Have New Economy Job Skills?

Illustration of new economy job requirements.
Traditionally, going to college and graduating with a degree was all one required to get a job. However, this is no longer the case in the new economy. The phrase “new economy” refers to new high growth industries that use innovative and cutting-edge technology. In most cases, new economy jobs require expertise in Internet related aspects such as search engine marketing, cloud computing, social media marketing, and keyword analysis. The majority of new economy jobs are service-based rather than manufacturing-based. Here are some of the top skills that one requires to succeed in a service-based economy.

Data Security Skills

People with a good grasp of data security are in high demand in the IT industry. This is because companies and individuals want to secure the data they generate from unauthorized access by cyber criminals. According to research carried out by IDC, the amount of data stored by cloud computing companies stood at 2.7 Zeta Bytes in 2012. By 2015, this figure will rise to eight Zeta Bytes.

At the same time, data breaches carried out by black hat hackers are increasingly becoming common. In 2012 alone, hackers accessed 267 million records according to figures from the Open Security Foundation. This includes credit card details, dates of birth, social security numbers, home addresses, as well as email address passwords. As a result, businesses are hiring people with data security skills such as setting up virtual private networks (VPNs), data encryption expertise, firewall software setup and programming, as well as mobile device malware detection.

Social Media Data Analysis Skills

Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google plus boast of more than one billion members. People use these sites to communicate with others, share videos, and even participate in common causes such as blood donation. Businesses have realized that they can analyze the data submitted by users of social networking sites to learn more about fashion trends, buyer preferences, and the marketing efforts of competitors. This essentially means data analysis, particularly social media data, is a key skill that one requires to succeed in the new economy. Someone with this skill can work for e-commerce retailers, financial institutions, brick and mortar retailers, restaurants, and sports teams.

Search Engine Optimization Skills

The Internet contains valuable information that web users need. In order to access this information, most people rely on search engines. In turn, the aforementioned engines use web crawlers to index information from millions of websites. SEO is vital because the majority of web users only click open links that appear on the first page of search engine results.

Figures published by Jakob Nielsen show that the top site in SERPs gets 42% of web traffic. Up to 62% of all web users open links that appear on the first search engine results page. A site that appears high on SERPs benefits from increased traffic, brand visibility, and better sales conversions. Some of the desirable new economy job skills in this niche include keyword research, guest blogging, white hat link building, article marketing, copywriting, knowledge of web design principles, and social media integration.

Employers in the new economy are looking for people with the right skills. A study published by Forbes magazine found that 46% of new employees fail in their jobs because they do not have the right technology skills. Unlike manufacturing based jobs, skills required to excel in new economy jobs are different. Depending on employer, one may require data security knowledge, expertise in social media data analysis, and search engine optimization skills.

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