Working from home was something people could only dream about a few years ago. When I started my first job, no one in the office dared to ask for such a thing. The only possible response we could imagine getting was: "We need someone to work in the you're-out-of-your-mind department."
But times have changed, and the dynamism in the job market has changed. People want more freedom and flexibility, which is why the concept of working from home has gained momentum. Just type "work from home" on Google and you will get quite a long list of results.
Whether you are tired of playing office politics, stressed out by commuting between home and office, or just want to tip the balance between work and life, you now have more choices than ever before.
We at GET.com have come up with 5 jobs that will let you work from home, and the challenges you may face in each of these jobs.
If you are good with kids and enjoy interacting with little ones, baby sitting could be a good option for you.
Despite the incentives that our government offers to new parents, Singapore has remained a country that has one of the lowest birth rates in the world. One of the reasons is that parents (including my wife and I) are struggling to find enough time to take care of their babies.
That has driven up the demand for child care centres. When I checked out the child care centres in my neighbourhood and near the office, I was shocked to learn that none of them could take my baby in right away. Some even asked me to wait for a year!
Child care centres also schedule 5 to 6 days of closure in a year. I believe it's a pure coincidence that parents are given exactly 6 days of child care leave. And there are days when babies get sick and are not allowed to go to the centres.
There are also parents who just want someone to look after their babies on weekends and public holidays, or when they need to take care of something important without dragging a baby along. In any case, a baby sitter is in demand.
The pay for babysitting is a lot better than you might think. Based on the queries I've made, you can charge from $750 to $1000 monthly per child, depending on the arrangement you have with the parents (weekdays only, part-day only or full-day, etc). If you can take care of 2 or 3 babies, you can make a decent income without leaving your home.
But it can be very physically demanding. Babies are munchkins, but they are also monsters. I have never doubted that my son is capable of destroying a city, which is why he has earned the nickname "mini Godzilla".
2. Home Tuition
Home tuition is quite popular among people who want to work on a part-time basis. It lets you pass on your knowledge and skills to others, and can also be financially rewarding.
As long as you are good at what you do, you won't need to worry about where to find students. Kiasu Singapore parents are always looking for ways to give their children an early start in education and start them off on the right foundation. Singaporean families spent $1.10 billion a year on tuition, including what they paid private tutors!
Maths and English are among the most common subjects in home tuition. Some parents are also interested in giving training in extracurricular activities to their children, such as music and sports. If you have the right qualifications and experience, you can make a decent living by doing tutoring jobs.
But you will need to accept the fact that children can be difficult at times, and parents can be very demanding. Though you are not the only one who determines the final outcome of a school test, parents may blame you for poor results.
3. Transcription Or Translation
If you have language skills, especially if you are effectively bilingual, you can do freelance writing, transcription or translation work.
You will get to work in an environment you are comfortable with, be it your home, a café, or the library. You also won't have to deal with people constantly disturbing you with emails, phone calls or other office affairs.
But this job can also be challenging. The work can be time-consuming and, if you have to work with deadlines, stressful as well.
4. Telemarketing Or Customer Care
There's no need for all the telemarketers or customer care officers to work in a brick-and-mortar office. As long as you are given proper training and are well equipped to handle customers, all that you really need to do this job is a phone and an online device.
If you look at the major job listing websites, you will see quite a few work-from-home jobs in these two areas. And they are not necessarily low-paying jobs.
The challenge is that you need to be someone who can handle difficult situations like a breeze. In this line of work you are dealing with people, even if you don't see their faces, so excellent people-skills are a must. It's well known that Singaporeans like to complain. So don't be surprised if you get some really unfriendly voices on the other end of the line. It's just part of the job.
5. Online Surveys
This is probably the easiest of these 5 work-from-home jobs. You don't need a particular set of skills to do this, all you need to do is to answer some questions.
But don't take it as easy money. As with any work, there's always a downside.
You might not need to be highly qualified, but there is at least one quality you do need to have: Patience. Companies or people who conduct surveys are trying to gather as much data as they can. Some surveys can be long and tedious.
You will probably be asked a series of questions about your background, and you may be expected to offer up personal information. If you are the type of person that likes your privacy, you may find this interrogation somewhat annoying.
And there is always the risk of being scammed or having your identity stolen! If the survey goes too far and asks you to give financial details like information about bank accounts or credit card numbers, then quit while you are ahead.
Unless you can verify that the survey is being conducted by a trustworthy organisation (government institution, university), offering sensitive personal information is not a good idea.