Writing is...personal freedom...writers will write...to survive as individuals.
~ Don Delillo

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Advantages and Issues of Having Home-based Online Jobs

Home-based online jobs help increase one's income.

Similar to the real world, finding the right online work and doing it are not easy feats. Unlike offline, however, many online jobs could be done at home. Employers across the globe provide these opportunities. Several companies, as well as universities with distance learning programs, have been outsourcing jobs to and contracting workers from local communities and developing countries.

Call centers, computer firms, and small enterprises, among others, employ online workers. Positions range from customer care agents, website builders, transcribers, and content writers to curriculum developers, tutors, researchers, and virtual assistants. Doing online work from home then could mean telecommuting or marketing and supervising a business.  

Advantages of telecommuting  

Working from home allows parents to have an income while taking care of their children. It allows professionals to be their own boss. For full-time employees and students, the Internet can also provide them part-time jobs that they can do at night and during weekends, such as online writing, data encoding, and answering customer calls.

Certainly, online jobs help struggling workers to earn extra cash. These also provide them some control over when and where they like to work. Of course, how to do the job depends on what it is about and its requirements. 

Issues of doing online jobs at home  

In spite of its advantages, doing online work at home also has its risks and drawbacks:
  • Low compensation and zero benefits
Online and offline workers deserve fair compensation and benefits.
Though they provide money and occasional promotion, online jobs rarely offer a high salary. They also do not have a benefits package that is typically given to office or company employees. Such package may include health insurance, subsidized tuition, paid vacation leaves, and other non-cash rewards.

  • Erratic work time and inadequate rest
The time allotted for work is influenced by other concerns. Stay-at-home parents still have to do house chores. Others run errands for loved ones. Unless one prefers doing his/her job beyond regular work hours or is more productive at night, not a few online workers stay awake until midnight or until early morning. Some even sacrifice their weekends to complete a task or to meet a deadline. The lack of sleep takes a toll on their health, even among insomniacs, as it can lead to poor concentration, depression, and weight problems.

  • Absence of or minimal legal protection for online workers (and online employers too)
Unless both employer and worker value their relationship that is mostly based on trust, the lack of a regulating and monitoring body to set online work standards makes either party vulnerable to cheating and exploitation. No institutional mechanism is set up to receive and process complaints about online work arrangements.

This is especially true at the national level even if the country is a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO). Nonetheless, there are a few sites that have policies on settling employer-worker disputes which may result in the termination of either party's subscription or membership privileges depending on the nature of the offense.  

Weighing options 

Certainly, the virtual world is as imperfect as the people who created it. It is also as imperfect as the real world. It is best then that online employers, telecommuting employees, and virtual job applicants are aware of the pros and cons of engaging in a web-based work relationship. 

Further readings: 
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