Online work has become as common as, if not more common than in person work, with employees opting or being asked to stay home and conduct their workday from their laptops and through online means. Often, this sort of work is comprised of video meetings with coworkers and bosses, discussing the work that needs to be done, and plans for the week. It is the usual office environment and dynamic, just moved to an online medium. Office work is completed as normal, and meetings are completed through these online alternatives. However, this is not the only face online work can take. More and more people are finding new alternatives to these more traditional office type of jobs, even if they are online, and are shifting to more freelance ways to earn money and support their families.
One specific example of this is the opportunity for paid online surveys and studies. In an article written by David Ingram for NBC News, this is shown in a woman who makes her living through these studies and surveys. Kara “Jones, 35, was laid off in May and quickly began spending hours each day scouring websites for ways to scrape together a few dollars at a time by giving her opinions on products, participating in studies and offering feedback on how to improve products such as a smart TV app that she and her husband use. She is part of an almost invisible and growing community of online survey takers, opinion givers and product samplers who have figured out how to eke out livings through humdrum online work.” However, Kara Jones is only one among a massive movement creating this shift towards more online work options. This inundation of possible workers has certainly created a slightly competitive nature to these jobs, in some ways, but “the beauty of the hustle is you earn as hard as you want to try,” she said. “If you don’t want to try for a couple days, you don’t have to. There’s no one breathing down your neck. You’re not going to get fired if you don’t show up for a couple days. That also means virtual work is missing one of the defining characteristics of modern careers: a ladder, or the opportunity to advance some day.”
Similarly, studies and surveys are only one facet of this expanding online work environment. There are hundreds, thousands, of websites that have options for users to make money in new ways online, and more are popping up all the time. Especially now that quite a bit of work, and therefore, workers, have shifted online, these options are taking advantage of the situation by giving these newly unemployed or working from home people to make a few extra bucks. Options for things such as freelance work, product testing, selling of homemade or gently used items, and monetizing social media are other options for those that find themselves wanting to make more money, and turning to the internet to do so.
Of course, there are always concerns of scams and being ripped off due to the less transparent nature of these online working options. It is incredibly important to keep an eye out for any red flags in these opportunities to ensure it is actually legitimate. It can be difficult to know exactly what to look out for but being careful can save you quite a bit of time, money, and information. Often, one thing to especially keep an eye out for is job opportunities that seem too good to be true. Things such as incredibly high pay for little or very easy work or claims that no experience or skills are needed for a job that usually would require these are surefire signs that something is not as it should be. Another thing to keep an eye out is any requirements to pay upfront for job training or materials. It is important to check in on company names, ask questions, get details, and not just immediately trust its legitimacy due to the site it is on.
Online work opportunities are especially tempting and important as we are in a time of many people having to work from home or losing their jobs due to the pandemic. Due to this, many people are looking closer at these opportunities than they might otherwise, and the companies that are offering these opportunities are multiplying and growing. However, as with everything, there is another side to the coin. There are just as many companies taking advantage and scamming as there are true, legitimate opportunities. Keeping an eye out for red flags and making sure to learn as much as possible about these different opportunities is very important. Online work can offer a good supplement to another job, or even a way to make a living aside from other jobs, in some cases. This requires a sense of care and research into these opportunities, but it is not necessarily something to be discounted. We will likely continue to see a growth in these opportunities as time continues, and possible even after the pandemic makes them even more necessary.