Since March of 2020, companies have transitioned employees to working from home as the global pandemic has upended the workplace for many Canadians. As some speculate this may be the death of the corporate office, companies are making a permanent shift to work from home positions.
If you’re looking to land employment that gives you the flexibility to work from home (WFH), here’s what you’ll need to set you up for success and companies that offer virtual positions.
Is it better to work from home or in an office?
So, what’s better? A 6’x6′ office cubicle or flipping open your MacBook and reclining on the couch? It depends.
Pros and cons of working in an office
The upside to working in an office is it forces us out of bed and into the shower – at least for most of us! We dress in work-appropriate clothing and typically spend time with co-workers. The 9-to-5 provides structure, a reason to get out of the house, and social interactions. For new graduates, an office environment also provides an opportunity to learn face-to-face from their manager and peers. Being able to pop over to someone’s cubicle to ask a question can help us to feel like we’re not working in a silo. Mentoring and communication become more difficult when working remotely.
Pros and cons of working from home
Working from home isn’t without its challenges, especially if you live with other family members who also WFH, have small children, or roommates who spend their day watching Netflix. If you’re someone who struggles with personal discipline, working from home can be a slippery slide where social media, pets, or that Netflix show your roommate is binge-watching can distract you from the task at hand (i.e. work). On the flip side, there are plenty of benefits to working from home. It removes the need to relocate for a position, which means you can live in Toronto and apply for your dream job in Vancouver or Sydney, Australia, if you choose. Even if you work in your home city, WFH saves time and cost with commuting. It also can bring a better work/life balance. Finally, if you’re working virtually, it’s important to build relationships with coworkers remotely.
What kind of jobs can I do from home in Canada?
Here are examples of the types of work from home jobs you’ll find available in Canada:
- Call centre agent
- Content writer
- Teach ESL (English as a Second Language)
- Virtual assistant
- Accountant or bookkeeper
- Graphic designer
- Social media manager
- Market research
- HR (Human Resources)
- Tech support
What do you need to work from home?
Successfully working from home takes some preparation and a certain amount of organization. Here are four things to help set you up for success:
1. Time management skills
Some people think working from home means setting their own hours. However, that may not always be the case. Some companies may stipulate their employees work 8:30 to 4:30, whether they’re remote or in the office. It’s wise to find out what the expectations are, especially if it’s a new position. Ask your direct supervisor or boss if there are any guidelines around when they expect you to be online. However, if you land a position where you can make your own hours, it’s still a good idea to manage your own time and set consistent hours for yourself. If you need to stay on task to manage your time, try a time-tracking app like RescueTime, which will provide insights on how you spend your days. FocusMe is another free app that works on your phone or computer. You can set it up to limit or completely block distracting sites and apps (like Reddit or Instagram) and also has a Pomodoro Timer where that nips short breaks from turning into half an hour scrolling through Twitter right in the bud.
2. Good Wi-Fi
No matter what WFH job you land, chances are you won’t get far without decent Wi-Fi. Reliable, consistent service is essential to jumping. If you’re not a techie, it probably pays to check the level of service you currently have with your provider. Both speed and bandwidth are important – especially if there are others in the house streaming content or gaming. Depending on your current plan, you may want to upgrade your service. After all, there’s nothing worse than having to explain you missed the team Zoom call because the Wi-Fi went out… again.
3. Comfortable working area
You may not need a capital “O” office, but you will need a comfortable workspace that you can make your own. Find a space with limited distractions and is light-filled, as natural light boosts our productivity and health. If you’re short on space, set up a compact, dedicated desk in your bedroom. While you can nab a cheap desk from Ikea starting at $69 CAD, you may want to invest a little more on an ergonomic chair. Make sure it’s one where you can rest your feet comfortably on the floor or a footrest. Alternatively, clear off the dining table and work from there during the day. Wherever you choose to work, be mindful that the space is professional as well as relaxed. Lounging across your bed is perhaps a little too comfortable, especially if you’re video conferencing with your boss.
Read more on 6 tips to set yourself up to work remotely.
6 companies with work from home opportunities
As COVID-19 continues to turn 2020 on its head, more and more companies have adapted by letting their employees work from home. The result? Work from home will likely become the “new normal,” especially for companies and industries like tech and client services.
To help narrow down your search for a virtual position, here are 5 companies that already offer work from home opportunities.
Who they are: Adobe is synonymous with creativity software and multimedia products, including Photoshop and Adobe Creative Cloud. This global company is based out of San Jose, California, and has been on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for 20 years.
Roles available: As you’d expect for a software company, positions available are on the tech side, including software engineers, software developers, and technical staff. However, there are also product specialist and account management positions available.
Who they are: You’d have to have been living under a rock not to have heard of Amazon. The company began in 1994 when Jeff Bezos first established an online bookstore out of his garage. Today, it’s grown to be an international, virtual “store.”
Roles available: Positions available in Canada include software development, human resources, design and project management.
Who they are: Salesforce has created a cloud-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, which allows their customers to analyze their sales data and better manage their customer relationships.
Roles available: Positions available within Canada include marketing, customer service, account management, finance and technology.
Who they are: Freelancing is a great work from home option, and sites like Upwork make finding freelance opportunities easier. Upwork is a freelancing platform that connects individuals with their registered clients from around the world. Which means you could be doing a job for someone in Montreal or Mumbai.
Roles available: The beauty of Upwork is that all their positions are remote. If you have skills in web or mobile app development, social media marketing, SEO, content writing, or virtual administration, then you’ll likely find an opportunity on their site. But first, you’ll need to sign up and create an account.
Who they are: Randstad was founded in the 1960s in the Netherlands and today is one of Canada’s top employment agencies. They offer permanent and temporary positions and connect you with employers who are looking to hire.
Roles available: Randstad has positions available in a variety of sectors, including administration support, sales and marketing, customer service, and sales and finance.
Who they are: Based out of Ottawa, Shopify is an ecommerce platform that lets businesses market, sell products and services online or in person, and manages inventory and payments. They currently operate in over 175 countries around the world.
Roles available: The Canadian company recently announced that its employees would have the option to work remotely on a permanent basis. Career opportunities with Shopify range from pricing strategist to HR to paralegal to data scientist. If you are fluent in a second language, such as French or Spanish, you’ll also find support advisor roles available.
Tips for finding a work from home job
Being able to work in your sweats sounds like a dream come true for many of us. And it can be. Here are a few tips for finding legitimate work from home jobs:
- When you search for job opportunities on LinkedIn or online, filter for those that state they are virtual positions.
- Be willing to be flexible. If working from home is the goal, consider freelance or a part-time position that allows you to do just that. You may not have the same security as a permanent position, but they’re more likely to be opportunities that come with the flexibility to work where you want.
- Like any job search, network like a pro and let others know what it is you’re looking for.
- Finally, if a work from home job opportunity sounds too good to be true, it may well be. Do your homework and ask others who work in the same industry their thoughts or run a simple Google search to see if there are any red flags for the company or position you’re considering.
Connect with recruiters
Keep in mind that recruiters are consistently looking for candidates to fill positions. Connecting with recruiters is another way to expand your search, as they will do the heavy lifting for you when it comes to scouting job opportunities.
Update your resume and social media
Before you approach recruiters, take time to update your resume. Make sure it reflects your preference for a work from home opportunity, which you can include in your resume summary. At the same time, refresh your social media accounts. Yes, there’s a good chance a recruiter will check out your social media profiles to get a better sense of who you are before considering you for a position. Consider updating your photo to a professional headshot and if you want to maintain privacy on personal social media channels, check your privacy settings.
Did you know that 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn? Which means you should too. First, update your professional profile on LinkedIn, then turn on your open to work feature on your LinkedIn settings. That way you’ll have a better shot at recruiters coming to you with an exciting career opportunity.
Read more on 5 tips to using LinkedIn to get your next job.
Let Prepped help you find the perfect work from home position
Given the success of remote work over the past few months, it’s likely that the number of companies switching to working from home will continue to climb, along with an increase in job availability. Which is great news for job seekers who prefer commuting to the next room rather than an hour to the office. Sign up for Prepped and gain access to tools and resources to help you increase your chances of landing a job 6x.
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.