Virtual Work in Penticton

Virtual work is more than an abstract, techy concept -- many companies now pride themselves on having employees all over the globe. It is expected that by 2016, 1/3 of the global workforce will be virtual and that by 2020, 58% of all employment will be contract based. 

Here are a few key conceptsRemote/teleworkers/work-at-home is generally a work arrangement where employees do not commute to a central place of work on a daily basis. Virtual Workers, having kept up with advancements in technology, have incorporated a flexible work schedule meaning they can work from virtually anywhere at anytime with the communication tools that are now available.     

Tools of the trade
As virtual worker you will need to create a home office. These are the basic necessities:

  • A computer
  • High-speed internet
  • A smart phone
  • A professional email. Your “funfriend37@hotmail.com” will not cut it.
  • Long distance phone plan – landline or via the Internet.
  • A multifunctional scanner that has the ability to fax.

Penticton is an amazing place to work virtually from because we already have a community of virtual workers (and entrepreneurs!) who love living their lifestyle dream in Penticton while enjoying a career that allows for flex time and professional growth.  Penticton has the infrastructure (great Internet speed) and access to shipping product in or out at three airports and a USA boarder crossing, all within an hour’s drive.  Getting to your clients is easy from Penticton with year-round access to major highways and a local airport within a 15 minute drive from anywhere in the City.   We have the retail stores to provide your business with supplies and a technical community to help with setting you up.  We have a vibrant café industry here in Penticton providing fabulous food and a vibrant place to create.

In addition to your home office or public space, is a coworking space and here we have a place called Cowork Penticton.  They offer a shared flexible workspace for a membership fee along with meeting rooms, wifi, video projectors, printers, etc. It is a great, fully furnished option.  You can use it as much as you need as workspace or an occasional meeting room.  A great bonus is that you will meet other successful virtual workers and entrepreneurs and be invited to different lunch-and-learns, networking functions along with a social party or two.  You can learn more about Cowork Penticton here.

Possible work for virtual workers (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Virtual Assistants
  • Computer Technology
  • Editing, Writing
  • Data Entry
  • Education and Training
  • Online training program development
  • Online surveys, virtual research
  • Call Centres
  • Sales roles
  • Graphic Designers
  • Lawyers
  • Marketing positions
  • Social media
  • Business Development
  • Researcher
  • Financial Advisors
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • HR Services
  • Transcription work
  • Healthcare support

Interested? Here are some tips on becoming a Virtual Worker:

Look to your current employer.
If you are looking to move to Penticton, why not bring your job with you? You’ve established a relationship with your employer and, although working from home will be a bit different and require some transition, you already have in-depth knowledge of how to do your job. Show how working remotely in Penticton is possible and will increase your productivity. 

  • You will not have to spend several hours each week commuting.
  • You can work when you are most productive.
  • You will be able to better balance family commitments with work obligations.

Provide an overview to your employer of the work environment that you will be using to telework. Prove you have the right desk, printer, phone and Internet connection.  Be prepared to discuss the pros and cons of telework and how you can make it work.  


Bring your current job to Penticton resources:

 More thoughts on moving your job to Penticton:

  • Be innovative, open and available for communication and collaboration.  Provide solutions on how you will be accessible and available to your coworkers (daily check-ins via email or Skype for example).
  • Emphasize the financial benefits to your company and your employer. Less office space is required and highlight the value of employee retention.  According to the Center for Work and Family at Boston College, teleworkers are sometimes open to a slightly lower salary, as costs of transportation, clothing and food will naturally be lower.
  • Discuss impact on your role such as: will hours change? How will productivity be measured? How will you continue to engage with your work culture? Where will you conduct meetings? How often are face-to-face meetings required?

Looking for a new job.
If you're looking for a new job, seek out those that have telework/virtual worker programs or are known to let their employees work from home. In general, these are usually large corporations (they have the resources to allow telework and want to attract the best talent) and small companies (they want to attract and keep the best talent).

 

Search job listings that specify you can work from home.
Some jobs listings are targeted toward people who want to work from home. The most important thing to remember when viewing these kinds of job listings is to avoid the terrible plethora of work-at-home scams, which could end up costing you money rather than paying you to work.  About.com's Guide to Job Searching has a useful article on how to avoid work-at-home scams, as does Forbes.  In general, if it sounds too good to be true… it probably is. Do your research.

There are dedicated sites for virtual work (many require a subscription or service fee), but you can also use general job listing directories that allow you to search nationwide and for the keywords "telecommuting", "telecommute", and "telework" ("work at home" and "work from home" may have more scammers). If the site allows, you can also search for "telecommut*" and "telework*" -- add the asterisk to include variations of these terms in the search results. Here are a few links to get you started:

Tailor your job application and resume to showcase telecommuting/virtual worker skills. The qualities employers look for in virtual workers include self-motivation, responsibility, excellent communication skills, and comfort with technology. Make sure your resume shows how you've used these traits in previous jobs and be prepared to display your knowledge of the pros and cons of telecommuting at your interview. If you have experience telecommuting or as a virtual worker, be sure that is listed on your resume as well -- that may be the most convincing point on your resume. You also should consider an online portfolio that highlights your work.

A few resume resources:
Dorothy Rawlinson
ResumePower.com
VirtualAssistantsJobs.com
RecruitingBlog.com

Get equipped and up to speed on technology and communication.  If you can prove strong typing skills and computer abilities (e.g., show computer class certificates) and know how to communicate effectively using email, phone, and IM, use web conferencing, and collaborate with others virtually, your telecommuting application will be stronger. 


Tips:

  • Don't worry if your employer doesn't have a formal telecommuting program in place. Suggest to your supervisor working from home on a part-time or trial basis to start.
  • If you know in advance that you only want a work-from-home position, state so upfront in the cover letter/interview, but do so explaining the benefits for both you and the employer and reinforce how you can perform the job even better working from home. If your skills set is in demand and you are a highly qualified candidate, you can use telecommuting -- at least part time -- as a bargaining chip.
  • Make sure the prospective employer knows you want to succeed at the job and contribute to the company -- don't give the impression that working from home is your primary motivation. Focus on your skills and your ability to accomplish the job. 

A few more resources for virtual work seekers

  1.  http://www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/how-to-get-started-as-a-virtual-worker/
  2. http://virtualassistanttrainingacademy.com
  3. http://workathomeresourceguide.com/general-resources/
  4. http://www.workflexibility.org/who-we-are/
  5. http://eahelp.com
  6. https://www.zirtual.com/plans-pricing/
  7. https://resumepower.com/telecommuters-resume-tips.html
  8. http://www.virtualassistantjobs.com/create-a-job-winning-virtual-assistant-resume-and-website/
  9. https://www.freelancer.com