If you’ve ever dreamt about keeping your own time or working within the comforts of your own home, then you already know that now, more than ever, that dream is a hair’s breadth away from becoming reality.
With the rise in companies transitioning to a remote work setup and the prevalence of online communities where lives and livelihoods are talked about and made accessible, working from home isn’t as novel as it once used to be.
Be that as it may, not all remote workers choose to work from home out of choice.
Others do so out of necessity. You could be shifting to the work-from-home scene to take care of a sick loved one, or maybe you yourself are grappling with health concerns. You could also be hating the day-to-day commute expenses and travel distance, especially with the inconvenience of traffic. Or maybe you’re a parent wanting to try out homeschooling for your children this year.
Whatever the reason you find yourself transitioning from the traditional office set-up to working from home, we’re here to help you out. We know how confusing and challenging it can be to start your work-from-home journey, as it’s often the beginning that’s hardest.
There’s such a huge pool of work-from-home jobs available, but how do you know which ones are legitimate and which ones are scams? Which job portal sites are reliable?
Going from having a structured routine in the traditional office set-up to being flexible and free to pace yourself at home can also be a bit unsettling: distractions are plenty at home, there’s a sudden loss of efficiency markers, and you have less accountability to your boss now than you did before.
These are all valid concerns, and we hear ya, so here’s your ultimate work from home guide in the Philippines.
Getting started: how to pick a work from home job
To get the ball rolling, let’s take a look at how you can pick a work-from-home job that’s right for you.
There are plenty of opportunities in the market if you know where to look, but just like how you would apply for a traditional office job, applying for a work-from-home job begins with yourself.
A lot of people will tell you that following your passions is the key to landing a job—work from home or otherwise—that you’ll love.
And while they mean well and definitely come from a place of good advice, passion will only get you part of the way. Grit, discipline, and actual skill all factor in how well you’ll do your job, and quite heavily at that.
So instead of just selecting a work-from-home job based on your passions alone, consider your skillset, experiences, and overall qualifications, too.
Knowing that you’re equipped for a role that matches both interest and skills is paramount, and it takes both to buoy you through the challenges that you’ll undoubtedly face as you work from home. (Best get the notion that working from home is a walk in the park out of your head as early as now!)
Establish ground rules
Before you start bombarding Google with job searches, set aside the time to establish some ground rules with yourself first.
Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What are your priorities?
- What are your non-negotiables?
- What are your goals?
Once you’ve answered them as honestly and as thoroughly as you can, use those answers as a point of reference for the jobs you’ll be sifting through as you conduct your search. This will help keep you aligned and will more easily eliminate jobs not suitable for you in the process.
For example, you aren’t a patient person and you definitely don’t see yourself taking on a role that requires much one-on-one exposure where talking takes up most of your time. In this scenario, you probably should stay away from customer service-related jobs, tutoring, or teaching online.
Do your homework
In this day and age where scammers abound, you can never be too careful.
So don’t just apply for a job that sounds good—make sure that it is good. Do your due diligence and research on the company you hope to apply for. Read reviews online if there are any, and start asking around.
This will give you a better idea of the company, as you’ll get to see what it’s like, all while establishing its legitimacy. This will also give you a good feel of whether or not the company is for you, so you’ll also want to take a good look at the role being offered itself.
Ask current employees about the company culture and what the higher-ups are like. What’s the compensation package like? Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s better to get them out of the way now than to get caught in a bind later.
Use job portals
You can also use job portals to better filter the jobs you’ll come across.
While not a completely fool-proof way of going about things, at least it’ll be safer than just clicking on a random Google search result. Besides, you’ll get to save up on time when you make use of the filters that such sites offer to narrow down the fields of your search.
You should also prioritize established companies for your peace of mind. These companies will have a track record of running a work-from-home program, and you’ll also better be able to conduct your research since they’ll have more accessible company information available.
Your chances of going from calculated to sure risk increase in this way.
Consider the income flow
It’s important to focus on jobs that pay regularly rather than on one-time-big-time ones. While there’s nothing wrong with the latter, seeing as to how it provides a huge deal of money for single projects at a time isn’t exactly ideal in terms of financial stability.
On the other hand, jobs that pay regularly do so by ensuring a steady, fixed flow of income. For a newbie remote worker, a guarantee such as this should take precedence.
If a job that pays regularly happens to also pay a bit lowly on whatever metrics you’re measuring it against, you can always consider supplementing that source of income with the aforementioned one-time projects or other freelance work. Since you’ll be working at your own pace when you work from home, you have the liberty to take on a couple of extra side gigs if your time and schedule permits.
Beware the scammers
Of course, you should be careful of suspicious postings and those that tout an income that’s either too high or too low for the role being offered. These kinds of postings are more often than not scams, so it’s best to stay clear of them.
Another red flag to be wary of are jobs that require you to incur out-of-pocket expenses even before you get hired—often as a stipulation in order to get hired. You shouldn’t have to shell out money for a role. It’s either you get it or you don’t.
Looking right: where to find a work from home job
Now that we’ve determined how you should go about picking a work-from-home job, let’s look into where you might pick the right one.
There are three main pools of information you can work with: referrals, online communities, and online job portals.
Getting job referrals from friends, family members, and former colleagues is a good way to break the ice. This resource presents a good opportunity for direct feedback, as you’ll be asking for job leads from either a direct or indirect source that you can personally talk to.
This gets the task of establishing job credibility out of the way, and if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind asking your connections to get a good word in with a possible employer for you, then this is a good means to do so, too.
With the advent of technology, it comes as no surprise that the world of the Internet is where you’re most likely to find a work-from-home job that suits you.
Online communities such as LinkedIn, Facebook job-posting groups, and even Reddit threads can be your saving grace in this regard.
Job postings on these platforms will most likely come from startups, but there will also be agencies and companies (such as Amazon for those open to an international job) that are searching for their newest addition.
Capitalize your online power by browsing through LinkedIn and joining those Facebook groups. It costs nothing but is worth its weight in job seeking-gold.
Online job portals
Another online resource you can exhaust are online job portals.
All you have to do is sign up for an account and browse away. Like we’ve previously established, existing filters on these portals can help make the search easier, but an added benefit is the in-house application feature that most of these portals have. You won’t even have to leave the site to apply for a job!
It also makes the work of comparing rates and role responsibilities easier, as the information is already congregated on one platform.
Buffering: before you start working from home
Before you launch your work-from-home ship, consider getting the following tasks settled first to ensure that you sail off to a good start.
Settle your numbers
We’re talking about your personal finances and professional rates here.
With regards to the former, it’s always a good habit to keep track of your finances, regardless of whether you are working from home or not—but especially if so. This practice will help you stick to a budget and also set aside money for both personal savings and necessary expenses, such as food and utility and telecommunication bills.
Building on that, it’s good to have an emergency fund, too, since you never know when the need to break the bank will arise.
Another thing to consider with regards to tracking your finances is to make sure your contributions to PAG-IBIG, PhilHealth, and SSS are in order. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean these contributions can be kept filed away, out of sight, out of mind.
You should also take note of any monthly payments to be made to health card and insurance providers. Those installments won’t pay themselves!
As such, getting your personal finances in order gives you both a point of reference and a guide as to how much you should be earning or charging as you work from home.
Now, should you ever find yourself considering taking on a freelancing side hustle, or if you are opting for that work-from-home route completely, then establishing your professional rates is a critical next step before you start putting yourself out there.
The good thing is, once you have your personal finances in order, it’ll be easier to see how much you should charge clients in order to make ends meet and then some.
Start by creating a list or table of rates on an hourly, monthly, and per-project basis. You should also include a section for additional work and any other factors to be negotiated upon by a client in your trade. For example, you are a writer. How much will you charge for a per word-article? Or if you’re a graphic designer, how will the rates differ for a full-scale piece and a quick sketch?
If you have no idea how to charge your rates, ask those in the same field or search for rates online. Job portals and online communities are usually helpful gold mines on such information.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t sell yourself short. It’s quite tricky not to oversell or undersell yourself, so always consider your skillset, experiences, and the time and effort it will take to complete a project when you come up with your rates. You should always get what you’re worth.
Set up your payment accounts
One of the things that you’ll need to dedicate time to immediately crossing off the to-do list before you start working from home is the process of setting up accounts to receive payments.
If you don’t already have your own savings account at a local bank, then you should hurry up and open one. Companies prefer to wire money to employees during payroll through bank deposit, so this is a must-have.
A more novel way to settle salaries these days is through payment apps such as GCash, PayMaya, Payoneer, and Coins.ph. This will come in handy especially for freelancers, as some clients who are more tech-savvy might prefer this mode of payment over others.
Lastly, setting up your own PayPal account is also a good idea, especially if you have plans of finding a remote employer overseas. PayPal is the top online payments system in the world, and we are betting that 9/10 overseas employers will require you to have a PayPal account to get your dues.
We suggest setting up one bank and payment app account each on top of a PayPal one in order to have all your bases covered. The latter two shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes at most. It will only be the former that will take at least half a day to do so since banks require personal appearances to open an account.
As such, it’s best to get these out of the way in the quickest time possible.
Prepare your tools and equipment
As a soon-to-be work-from-home employee, it’s imperative that you have the proper tools and equipment to get the job done even before you start the job.
It goes without saying that the first on your list should be to secure a fast and stable internet connection. Everything banks on the reliability of your internet, so don’t skimp on this. You don’t want to be accused of not answering inquiries or conference calls just because of connection problems.
You will also need to invest in a laptop or tablet fit for your trade. If you need particular specs, start looking into models that fit the requirements. Start installing the software you’ll be needing, too, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Microsoft Teams, and the like.
While you’re at it, invest in a good headset—or wireless earphones if that’s your jam—while you’re at it. These two pieces of equipment are a must for any remote worker.
Finally, you’ll want to sign up for video communication software accounts (yes, more accounts to sign up for!) such as Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet. These will come in handy once you start having video meetings with your boss, team, or clients. Best be settled now rather than scramble later.
Prepare and/or update your resume
Just like you would any traditional office job, landing a work-from-home job starts with having your resume updated and ready to go.
Don’t treat your application any differently than you would if you were applying for a 9–5 corporate job. Make sure that the relevant skills, qualifications, and experiences you possess are duly emphasized.
Consequently, polish your portfolio, too. This will allow you to be ready if and when possible employers or clients come asking for one, but it’s best if you send it along with your resume off the bat.
Additionally, preparing a cover letter to be sent alongside these documents is a professional plus. While not always required, having one shows the consideration you’ve taken into the application process and how seriously you are taking it.
Systems go: how to work from home productively
Once you’ve gotten a work-from-home job that suits your needs and interests, you might be wondering how you can carry out your role productively.
Below, we’ve outlined seven ways to achieve this.
Stick to a schedule
The best way to get yourself into the rhythm of things is by creating a schedule of your own and sticking to it. This will greatly aid you in transitioning from the structures of the traditional office and into the flexibility of working from home.
It’s easy to be buoyed by the novelty of so much freedom and adrenaline when you first start to work remotely, but once it wears off, it can get harder to sustain your focus and productivity. After all, there’s still a different mindset you subconsciously slip into when you’re at home—and it’s usually one of comfort and relaxation.
As such, a schedule of your own creates boundaries for you to follow and expectations for you to deliver on. By developing a routine for your days, it instills a much-needed discipline to keep you in check, thus helping you make the most out of your day.
Additionally, it makes it easier for people to contact you as they’ll know when to expect you to be in the work zone.
But before you go selecting any which hours you’d like to buckle down to work, know the ground rules first, especially if you’ll be working for a company. You’ll want to verify with your boss when you need to be available, or better yet, how many hours you need to clock in per day or per week.
Some remote employees operate on a flexi-time basis, while some still work on regular 9–5 shifts. It’s imperative to clear with your boss under which framework you’ll be working on so as to avoid any misconceptions and misunderstandings about how you handle your time.
That being said, if you’re operating on flexi-time (or even if you’re your own boss), make a schedule based on when you’re most productive during the day.
Strict deadlines and meetings aside, working from home is mostly an output-based setup. A great way to maximize your time and energy when delegating your own hours as such is to work your schedule around when you know you’ll get work done the most.
Before night owls can fully rejoice, take care to be considerate about your coworkers and clients. Even if your most productive hours are during the oddest times of the day, be sure to get any deliverables or meetings done during regular work hours.
This ensures that your coworkers won’t be left hanging at the end of their own days, and your clients won’t be surprised by a late-night email. No man is an island, and it would be rude to expect others to adjust to you—especially if you call for a meeting at say, 2am.
Truthfully speaking, you probably won’t get working from home right the first time around.
And guess what? There will be plenty of days where you’ll actually slack off and give in to the temptations of being at home.
The good news, though, is that you’re allowed to cut yourself some slack. You’re not expected to be productive all day, every day. If you are, then good for you! But if you aren’t, then that’s okay, too. Of course, this is not a free pass to let it become a habit.
Level with yourself and know your limitations and your workload. Understand where the two intersect and diverge, then work around and with that.
You aren’t some perfect-performing machine. You’re human, and there’s only so much in a day you can do. Managing your expectations at the start of the week and of every day gives you the breathing space to do as needs to be done, and to breathe when you don’t.
Whether it’s on traditional paper or through digital means, buckling down with a checklist (or a planner, if that’s more your style) can help you keep your head in the game.
When working from home, preparation is key. Utilizing this age-old technique of getting things done certainly does the trick, while also tempering your expectations for the day. You’ll want to arrange your list by priority, leaving the more difficult tasks for when you know you’ll be most energized to tackle them.
More importantly, key in a reward or two to keep you going. You’ve gotta have something to keep you going, right?
A benefit of using checklists is how you get to visualize and physically process what has and has yet to be done. You can use this as motivation to keep the ball rolling, especially when you’re tempted to take a break for too long.
It also helps you better pace yourself and arrange your schedule as needed, slotting tasks into their own delegated times.
Finally, it gives a certain sense of satisfaction and progress every time you see how far you’ve come, so all in all, checklists are a great way to keep your blood pumping.
Designate a work space
One of the most crucial things to working from home productively is having an area all to yourself so you can get in the work zone.
You’ll want to select a space where you know you won’t be bothered by anyone else, and one where you can easily slip into the thick of things. Essentially, you should be on the lookout for an area you’re okay with mentally associating with work.
As such, avoid the places in your home that you already associate with relaxation, such as your bedroom. This might mean setting up your own space entirely, and if that’s not an issue, then go for it.
If you don’t have much space at home and are worried about this association messing up your area-orientation of your home on non-working days, you can always have a set-up just for work for a particular area.
For example, you can add objects that can be easily moved around or tucked away that you associate with either work or play: an ergonomic chair and foldable laptop table for work Mondays through Fridays, and scented candles and succulents to take their place on the weekends.
It’s all about adjusting your designated area as needed, which can admittedly get tedious, but it just might do the trick.
If you want a change of scenery once in a while, you can take your work with you to a café around the corner or even your back garden. Depending on the ambience you need to get the work done, there are plenty of places you can complete your work remotely from. Just make sure there will be the internet where you’re headed!
Maintain a healthy work-life balance
We can’t stress enough how important it is for remote workers to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Not only will it keep burnout at bay, but it also ensures that you don’t let your professional life overtake your personal one. Balancing both allows you to work productively and efficiently when you need to, and ensures that you still have non-work things to look forward to and occupy you when you don’t.
This is why the consistency of your chosen work schedule matters. Aside from the discipline it instills in you, it also keeps you from spending one moment too many on work matters. So hold yourself accountable and tell your boss and coworkers about your self-proclaimed official work hours if you have to.
Nothing is sadder than being able to work in the comfort of your own home, only to realize that work has slowly stripped away its comforts. Save yourself the stress and work at achieving a healthy work-life balance.
Switch off at the end of your workday when you said you would, because that’s exactly when you need to and not a moment later.
Whether it’s to take a quick power nap, to grab a bite, or to take a quick walk around the block to get your daily dose of Vitamin D, take energizing breaks as often as you need to.
Your brain is a muscle that needs to breathe just like everything else, so give it and your eyes some much-needed rest. This will keep your stress at bay and give you something to look forward to as your burn hours. Think of it as small rewards for a job well done or a job in progress.
There’s no way you would work eight hours straight in the office, so why do so at home?
Check in with your coworkers
This is a good way to stay connected to others while also developing camaraderie and synergy with them. Just because you’re working from home does not mean you should work in isolation.
In fact, working from home is all the more reason to connect with your colleagues. You’ll get to bond together while bouncing ideas off of each other, and it also allows you to level with them on each of your progresses.
Plus, they become more than just faces you see and voices you hear during meetings, but actual people with whom you can connect to.
Productivity doesn’t have to be difficult. Even if it’s not as easy to achieve as it seems, it’s certainly doable.
Here are a couple more tips for you to get into the works.
Dress the part
Working from home is all about the mindset, and for some of us, this is taken quite literally.
If it will help you feel more grounded to dress up—like an external cue for your body to get in the work zone—then by all means, bust out the blazer and slacks.
Schedule activities after work hours
Another way to say goodbye to isolation and loneliness is by scheduling activities after work hours with family, friends, or even just your dog.
It will give you something to be excited about as you work your way through the day, making sure you actually get the job done so you “leave” on time.
Physically leave the house
A physical unplugging at the end of the day is so underrated, we could cry.
Leaving your house for a quick stroll and a breath of fresh air at the end of your workday is like a physical resetting. It allows your body to recalibrate and get out of the work zone—and, it gets in a few, quick minutes of exercise.
The market: work from home jobs available to Filipinos
As a parting gift from us to you, here’s a list of jobs Filipinos can get into to start working from home:
Customer service / call center
- Customer support
- Technical support
Design and creative arts
- Graphic design
- Video production / editing
Education and language
- English teaching
- Tutorial services
- Financial planning / management
- Tax preparation
- Computer programming
- Game development
- Mobile app development
- Software development
- Web and mobile design
- Web development
Marketing and sales
- Affiliate marketing
- Email marketing
- Lead generation
- Pay per click marketing
- SEO services
- Social media marketing
- Beauty products
- Architectural and engineering services
- Medical billing
- Paralegal services
- Real estate coordination