Last Updated: Sep 5, 2019
With technology increasingly touching every corner of our lives, an expansive amount of work can be done from a computer. Think about it: if you have a typical office job, how much time do you spend in front of a screen? Quite a bit, right? Whether it's typical office work, tech and IT, or something more creative, there are a wide array of jobs that can now be done on a laptop in the comfort of your home.
When you call tech support because your computer's frozen or your favorite retailer to see when your new shoes are supposed to arrive, you're talking to a customer service agent. In the past, those agents were almost certainly sitting in a cubicle surrounded by people doing the exact same thing. But now there's nothing to say that they aren't sitting in front of their computer in their own home. And you could be too!
Remote customer service jobs require strong verbal and written communication skills, as you might be responding to customer emails or live chatrooms as well as phone calls; a strong internet connection; and knowledge of the product or service you're working with, or at least a willingness to learn. Jobs range from part to full time, and you can search sites like Upwork, remote.co, or SkipTheDrive to find opportunities.
Teaching and tutoring
If you're a native English speaker and want to teach, there are lots of opportunities to teach English as a second language remotely. You could also tutor in a variety of subjects at many different levels. Some of these jobs are full time, but many are part time and might make a good supplement to other online work. Opportunities also abound for full-time teachers for internet classrooms as virtual K–12 schools continue to expand.
Many typical office jobs can be done on your couch as well. Lots of data entry jobs are moving online. There are also many companies and professionals who will hire remote secretaries or personal assistants. For this kind of work, you'll need strong communication skills and a working knowledge of programs like Microsoft Word, Outlook, and Excel. You can find listings on sites like Upwork, Indeed, and remote.co.
If you're internet savvy and spend a lot of time on Twitter and Instagram, you might be well suited for a job in social media. With the growth of these platforms, many companies are turning to social media to connect to their customer base. You could freelance your services to several companies, running promotional materials and interacting with customers. Or you might work for just one company as a remote employee in the marketing or public relations department, or as a one-man show running all the accounts for the business. A degree in Communications or Marketing would be helpful, as well as a love and working knowledge of social media platforms and trends.
If you're a writer, many of your skills can be harnessed online. Similar to social media management, you may work freelance or for one specific business. You could work in journalism, copywriting, writing for a blog or other website, or running your own blog. You could, of course, go the more “traditional” route of writing novels from the comfort of your desktop.
You might also work in editing, proofreading other people's work for grammar and continuity issues. This can be done for a single organization, or you can find writing and editing opportunities on sites like Upwork, FreelanceWritingGigs, or CollegeRecruiter.
Many people don't even know captioning and transcription jobs exist. But if you've ever watched a video on YouTube or your Facebook feed with the spoken words scrolling across the bottom, someone put those words there. Sometimes it's the content creator, but often this work is outsourced.
There are lots of agencies that hire workers, often freelancers, to caption and transcribe video and audio for a variety of clients. You can find work, often part time, from places like Upwork, Rev, or Indeed. If you're fluent in a second language, there are also lots of remote translation jobs available from these same sites or Unbabel.
(Note: This isn’t closed captioning for things like TV broadcasts; that's a whole different ball game and requires more skill and experience. But if you want to work up to that, transcribing pre-recorded files is a good place to start).
If you want to use a little creativity and are tech savvy, you might enjoy a career in graphic design or photography. Most of this work is done from behind a computer or camera, and lots of businesses and individuals are looking for people who can help make them look good online.
If you have the skills, you might design websites, create graphics for marketing purposes, take and edit photos, or any other myriad of tasks. A background in visual and digital arts is helpful here, and you'll need to be comfortable with programs like Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop. If you're more accustomed to traditional computer work like programming and coding, there are jobs here too.
This job requires no prior experience or skills at all. However, it probably won't be your full-time gig. All you need is a computer, a strong internet connection, and a willingness to share your opinion. There are lots of sites out there that will pay you to take different surveys, and some pay better than others.
You could be testing unfinished websites or writing reviews on products or services you may have used. On some sites, like Swagbucks and SurveyJunkie, you might fill out several short written surveys in one sitting. On others like Usertesting, you can test online prototypes, giving your feedback aloud through software you download. Regardless of which route you go, there are lots of opportunities to make a little extra money.
Whether you're a computer expert, love writing, create amazing digital content, or like to help customers solve problems, there are lots of opportunities to work from home online. All you need is a computer, the power of the internet, and a willingness to work and learn as you go.
Look for more fun career ideas in our Internships and Careers section.