Since the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, the world of work has been turned upside down with more and more working from home jobs becoming available across industries that had predominantly focused on utilising office working spaces over remote working. The office industry has weathered the storm easier than most thanks to its flexible nature and its ability to pivot and change working practices easily.
While remote working and online work from home opportunities are at an all time high right now so too are scams preying on those who are searching for other financial income options. It can be hard to tell the difference between a real position and a fake one so before you start applying for jobs that appear in your social feed or email inbox it is important to do your research and make sure it is a legitimate position that you will be paid for.
Online work from home jobs used to be mostly confined to three main options:
- Mystery shopping
- Online surveys
- Company reviews
These can be long winded and tedious side hustles. Mystery shopping positions are not all they are cracked up to be, they are often unpaid or extremely low paid. A free dinner is ok once in a while but if you are looking for ways to earn extra cash this is not the best one to choose. There are very few mystery shopping opportunities available right now due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) restrictions and those that are advertised seem to be all about online customer experience, for example, you are required to take out an insurance policy and report on the process, customer service and overall experience, in exchange you might receive a discount off that insurance policy premium.
When it comes to online surveys bear in mind that you will have to complete hundreds of surveys to earn the equivalent of an hours work on minimum wage. Definitely read the small print with either of these options because in many cases, before you can draw down your hard earned money you could find that there is a lower earnings limit that must be met.
Spotting a fake position isn't always easy, scammers are becoming increasingly cunning and will go to great lengths to take advantage of those who are feeling the pinch so be on your guard. The first rule and most important rule is to forget any get rich quick schemes, if it seems too good to be true then it probably is.
With any position it is important to do thorough research before applying, our anti-scam checklist will help to guide you through the essential research you need to do before you apply for any position.
Anti-Scam Check list
- Did you contact them, or did they contact you? If you have been contacted out of the blue by a company saying they found your CV online, it is highly unlikely that the position is legitimate.
- Is this a real UK company. Use the companies house search function to check the status of the business and make sure it is real.
- Do they have a real, working and well populated website? Some scammers have been known to set up nice-looking websites so try using the Domain White Pages and type the company’s web address into the “domain or IP address” box and click the “go” button. The results will tell you the date when the website was created. If the website is relatively new (less than a year old) be wary.
- The contact details on the website should match those in the advert, message or email.
- Call the company directly using different contact details to the ones provided in the advert, email or message. Ask if the contact name you have been given is a real person and if the position actually exists.
- Use Glassdoor to see reviews from other people who have worked for them, are they trustworthy, are there any horror stories?
- Do you have to buy in? You should never have to commit your own funds to start a new job, any company that asks you to purchase a set up kit or a stock of goods should be avoided.
- Use Google to search for both the company’s name and the email address, if they are on scam lists, they should show up. It is also a good idea to copy and paste paragraphs from the email or advert into the search box. If others have been caught out by the scam it is possible that they will have posted sections from the advert or email online to warn others.
Most importantly, trust your gut, even if the company seems to check out ok if something doesn't feel right then it is best to avoid it.
You can protect yourself from scammers by only applying for jobs listed on legitimate job sites that have privacy policies in place like ours here.
Legitimate and reliable working from home jobs tend to be those that are often worked from an office but have the ability to be remote working positions too, there are some positions, like the 7 listed below that are great as either working from home jobs or office based jobs.
7 best remote working jobs
- Customer Service Advisor - Taking calls from customers, making sales calls, obtaining information or fielding queries that come in on online instant messaging portals are great in office or work from home options. Good pay and the hours are flexible. You don’t need a huge amount of experience to be a great Customer Service Advisor, if you have experience in dealing with customer queries in any capacity and you have patience, understanding and a desire to help, you have everything you need. You will find some big brand names like Capita, Lloyds TSB and well known organisations such as NHS 111 are often recruiting new Customer Service Advisors.
- Administrator- Maintaining computer information systems, inputting data, completing forms, creating reports, organising data and sometimes carrying out accounting administration tasks are duties you could find yourself coasting through as an Administrator. With demand for skills like these across many industries, Administrator working from home jobs are perfect for a flexible but consistent remote working set up.
- Data Entry Clerk - If you can work through information quickly and your typing skills are better than average, you could pick up some consistent work and earn a good additional income as a Data Entry Clerk. This is a great online work from home position as you can often choose when you do the work providing you hit the deadlines that have been set.
- Transcriber - Excellent listening skills and top notch typing skills are all you need to be a great Transcriber. Listening to audio files and accurately typing up what you hear is all it takes. From medical notes to meeting minutes and voice notes to lectures, the key to becoming a great Transcriber is to get the information typed up accurately and quickly.
- Translator - If you are lucky enough to be fluent in another language, being a Translator and picking up work translating websites, manuals, documents and even books is an excellent way to benefit from lucrative translation income streams.
- Virtual Assistant - If you have a good cross section of office skills and sound experience in office tasks such as calendar scheduling, cloud based filing systems, email monitoring and task management and if you know your way around plenty of office software packages you could find yourself with consistent work and a steady income stream as a Virtual Assistant.
- Tutoring - If you are reading this post because you are looking for ideas for additional income streams, it makes sense that other people are too, so why not make the most of that opportunity. If high numbers of people are thinking about their career choices why not put your own office talents to use and share your skills with others who want to learn. You can become a tutor and earn a good extra income from the number of people who participate on your courses.
If you have a good cross section of office skills and a bit of experience behind you there are many office career opportunities open to you, we recently posted on this topic, find out what jobs your office experience could lead to and get started with our 5 ways to turn your temporary office job into a permanent office job here.
Temping is the ultimate side hustle
If you are looking for extra income, remote working is not your only option. Temping can be great a sole source of income but it can also be one of the best choices when you are trying to set up some extra income streams but don’t have the equipment or a suitable environment for a remote working position.
Unlike some of the other side hustles such as online surveys, reviews and mystery shopping, temping is a pretty secure choice. As a temporary worker with a recruitment agency, the recruitment agency will ensure your rights are exercised and protected.
You will find that most office jobs are available as temporary positions, but there will be more job availability at certain times of the year. Different seasons and holidays create a spike in the demand for goods and services. Christmas for instance is by far the busiest time of year, not only for the fulfilment industries such as warehouses and retail outlets but also for their associated customer service centres. Financial institutions such as banks tend to follow the same season demand patterns as fulfilment and so, great Customer Service Advisors are highly sought after.
At the start of a busy season, to keep up with customer demand and ensure that the call centre phone lines are answered, many additional temporary staff are required but as the season draws to a close, the demand may dissipate and these high numbers of additional staff may no longer needed so their temporary contracts come to an end. For many employers, temporary workers who can settle in and learn quickly are a fantastic boost to their workforce when they are needed the most and the very best temp workers are often offered permanent contracts to stay on after the busy season ends.
Our resident writer Caree wrote about temporary working being the ultimate side hustle some time ago and the information provided still rings true today, check out the post here.
If temping sounds like the ideal solution for you check out our list of current jobs to see if we have the perfect temping position for you.
Working from home will require a bit of consideration to who is around you, how much space you have and if there is the possibility of having some quiet time to work. Many underestimate the distractions that come with working from home and struggle to maintain steady working hours, be realistic with your expectations and start with just a few hours a week while you get into a routine.
You will also need some equipment to set up your work space to ensure you can work effectively with everything you need around you.
The 5 main things you will need are:
- A quiet place to work
- Desk or worktop
- Reliable internet connection
- Computer or laptop with the Microsoft office and Google suite installed.
- Mobile phone
If you have these things you can create a remote working space that is not too different to what you would have in a shared office space. If you don't already have some of the more expensive items, do be sure that you have secured a remote working job before committing to buying any equipment.
Online work from home jobs will no doubt become more and more prevalent, especially while the world is navigating the uncertainty brought about from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak so if you are looking for additional income streams now is a good time to get started on researching your options, building your skill set and preparing your application toolkit, click over to our recent post where you will find out how you can make the most of your lockdown time with online learning and skill development resources, career ideas and job hunting advice.
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