Working from home — it’s the ultimate dream for many of us.
For writers especially, working from home can be an ideal arrangement. It allows for a freedom and focus you’ll never find in a crowded office, where your phone keeps ringing and bosses and coworkers stop by your desk every five minutes. As Virginia Woolf once said, there’s great value in having a “room of one’s own” when your work is of a creative nature.
More flexible work options than ever before
The good news for those of us who long for that room of our own is remote jobs are on the rise. The number of remote jobs posted over the last year alone has risen 27 percent, according to FlexJobs, an online service for professionals seeking telecommuting, flexible schedule, part-time and freelance jobs.
FlexJobs just released their second annual list of 100 Top Companies with Remote Jobs in 2015, a must-read if you’re in the market for flexible work. They analyzed job-post histories on their site in 2014 from more than 30,000 companies and identified 100 companies that offered the largest number of remote work options: telecommuting, work-from-home, virtual, etc.
The companies that made the list are all sizes and from a wide variety of industries, with the most remote-friendly positions in the fields of Medical and Health, Customer Service, Sales, Computer and IT, Administrative, Education and Training, and Marketing. And here’s where you, as a writer, come in: Many of these fields — and others that didn’t make the top seven — have a need for top-quality writers and editors.
What kind of writing jobs are we talking about?
So, of the 100 companies that made FlexJobs’ list, which are most likely to fit your particular skill set? Here’s a list of the some of the companies that offer writing jobs, as well as past and present job titles they’ve hired for.
- Thomson Reuters: Specializes in business information services. Job titles include Editor, Assistant Editor, Cases Editor (temporary) and Senior Editor (temporary)
- GEISWriters.com: Focuses on technical, medical and educational content. Job titles include Insurance Certification Exam Instructional Content Writer, Hyperbaric Technology Instructional Writer and Online Encyclopedia Content Writer
- K12 Inc.: Great for writers with an interest in teaching or education. Job titles include Writing Interventionist Teacher, Teacher — English/Language Arts — High School, English Language Learners Teacher and Middle School English Teacher
- About.com: For freelance writers with particular expertise areas, About.com hires “guides” to write content in that subject area. Job titles include Guide — Gluten-Free Cooking, Guide — Downton Abbey, Guide — Young Adult Books, Guide — US Foreign Policy, and Guide — Audio Books
- Edmentum: Educational organization that hires virtual teachers and curriculum writers. Job titles include Curriculum Writer — ELA, and Virtual Teacher — English
Is working remotely as a writer right for you?
Like any job, remote work has its upsides and downsides, and it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you make the switch.
Dana Sitar, an author, blogger and writing coach, has done the work-from-home-thing and also worked more traditional jobs like food service, retail and office work. (She’s also a contributor to The Write Life!) Her favorite parts about working from home?
I love that I have control over my schedule, because I’m not expected to show up anywhere at anytime to work. That works well for me, because I prefer to work at night, when offices would never be open. I also love that I can live anywhere I want and move whenever and as often as I want. The thought of a location-dependent job drives me nuts.
But, she warns, working from home isn’t always easy:
Think about the things you have in traditional employment: coworkers, a dedicated workspace, free supplies, someone enforcing a schedule and deadlines, a job description and to-do list, etc. Can you work effectively without these, or find some way to mirror them working from home?
Staying focused, on-task and on-schedule are the biggest challenges when you don’t have to punch a clock for work. A lot of little things about working in an office or other workplace help with those, and we don’t notice them until we’re working from home and don’t have them.
Stephanie Halligan, a cartoonist and money expert, agrees that remote work has its benefits and its drawbacks:
Working from home has given me so much independence and control over my day. Small things like working out in the middle of the day or cooking myself lunch are so rewarding. But I have to admit that I miss human interaction and “live” coworkers; it’s a lonely feeling to have all of my personal connections over Skype or on the phone!
If these things sound doable to you, you may have what it takes to be a successful remote worker. Sitar adds:
Creative people are good for remote jobs, because they tend to go stir-crazy in an office setting with a monotonous schedule. Same for people with wanderlust. To succeed, you have to be a smart planner, organized, self-motivated and a self-starter — and care about the work you’re doing and the people you’re doing it for.
Does this sound like you? Then what are you waiting for? Visit the full list of companies on FlexJobs’ blog and you may find your next perfect gig!
Do you work from home? What do you like about it, and what do you find challenging?