How to Set Up a Productive Home Office if You're Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Setting up a home office isn’t as simple as putting a computer on a desk and setting up shop. It takes some strategy to make sure you have a space where you’ll be able to focus on work, and if you’re deaf or hard of hearing (HoH), there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind. Details like layout, lighting, and the right tech are all key strategies in setting up a productive and comfortable workspace. Whether you’re a full-time or part-time remote employee, here is everything you need to know about setting up a productive home office space if you’re deaf or HoH.

Open Up Your Layout

As someone who is deaf or HoH, you rely on your sight in ways that hearing-enabled people don’t. Keeping your space open will keep your line of sight unblocked, help you feel more comfortable in your home office, and enhance your efficiency. Plus, if you host in-person meetings, it will be easier to lip read without barriers.

If you don’t have a spare room in your home to use as an office, it’s usually best to set a barrier between your working area and the rest of the room. Of course, this can make it more difficult to design an open layout, so try to allow as much room as possible in your workspace. If you use room separators, you can always take them down at the end of the day if they jut too far into the room.

Implement Soundproofing Measures

Individuals who are HoH can have trouble focusing on the task at hand when ambient noise pulls their attention away, since it can take extra effort to focus on sound they’re actively trying to listen to (like a phone call). If you wear a hearing aid or have a cochlear implant, excess sound can be especially bothersome. Consider using these soundproofing techniques to help keep noise distraction at bay:

  • Switch out hard flooring for area rugs or carpeting.
  • Slide a sound barrier beneath your door.
  • Upgrade your windows to more soundproof versions.
  • Add blackout curtains to windows, which help block out both light and sound.
  • Add noise-absorbing panels to your walls and ceiling.

Strategically Set Up Lighting

Lighting is key in any home office, but those who are deaf or HoH may benefit from using additional tools that use lights (discussed later in this guide), which could lead to issues that detract your focus. Carefully set up your office with these considerations in mind:

  • Reduce glare as much as possible. While you want your space to be well-lit, direct light on a computer screen is distracting and can cause eye strain and headaches.
  • Using light paint colors will help reduce glare and prevent your office from overheating, especially if you work in a small room. Pale shades of earth tones, like taupe, blue, and green, look great and are less blinding than stark white.
  • Eliminate shadows as much as possible. You may be more observant of (and distracted by) shadows than your hearing co-workers, so take note of anything prominent, and adjust accordingly.

Stay Alert of Other Areas of Your Home

If you need to stay in the know about other goings-on in your home while you’re working, there are great tech tools that can help those who are deaf or HoH. Consider using these gadgets:

  • Add a light- or video-enabled door signaler that connects to your doorbell so you’ll know when you have visitors. A smart doorbell is also a great investment, because you can connect it to your phone via an app that shows you your entrance.
  • If you work from home with kids in the house, know when your little one needs you with a baby monitor that flashes when your bundle of joy is stirring.
  • Use smart lighting that can be adjusted from a mobile device. This will keep you comfortable during the day and help your productivity by reducing the amount of times you need to get up to address it.

Be sure you have all of these devices in areas that are easily visible to you while you work. Don’t forget to be mindful of where you place them so that lighting doesn’t become a distractive element.

Remember Safety

While efficiency is important, safety should always be your top priority, so make sure you have smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors in your home office that are in clear view. Models that use flashing lights to alert homeowners to danger are standard in most homes with deaf or HoH occupants, but if you’re in your office all day, you may not see an alarm coming from another room. 

It’s wonderful to be able to work from home, but the key to your success as a remote employee lies in setting up a home office that promotes productivity and comfort. With a few layout strategies, organization tricks, and tech gadgets, your workspace will have you feeling at ease and productive from 9 to 5.

8 Ways to Make a Home Office More Comforting for Employees with Autism

Our homes are our sanctuaries, and for many people, they’re also where they clock into work for part-time jobs or even full-time careers. If you have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you’ve probably taken measures throughout your home to make it a more comfortable place, but if you haven’t yet addressed potential stressors in your home office, it’s time to take action. With a few simple fixes, you can create a more comforting home-office environment that will help you avoid triggers and boost your productivity.

Paint the Walls in Muted Colors

Light shades are usually recommended for any home office, but they can be especially beneficial for those with autism, because they’re less stimulating and distracting than bright colors. Off-white and beige tones are great options, but don’t be afraid to play around with color — pale green, blue, and yellow can help promote a sense of calm, and they add a little life to rooms without the need for additional pieces of decor. 

Soften Sources of Light

The right lighting is essential for home offices. Too much light can be overwhelming and detract from your focus when you’re on the clock, and glare is a nuisance that can trigger stress, eye strain, and headaches. Give your home office the right glow with these tips:

  • Use matte wall paint rather than options with glossy, light-reflecting finishes.
  • Add blinds or shades to windows to adjust natural light as needed.
  • Place picture frames, mirrors, and other decorative elements in places where they won’t catch light and produce glare.
  • Swap out fluorescent bulbs in lamps and overhead lights for soft-glow bulbs. Fluorescent lighting is harsh and can quickly wash out a room.

Add Soundproofing Measures

Sound is another element that many people with ASD find overwhelming. Control the volume with these measures:

  • Add soundproofing elements to your walls. Insulating the interior of your walls is a big project (and not one you can do without a professional’s help), but there are do-it-yourself (DIY) strategies you can implement. Hanging thick blankets on walls will help block out ambient noise, and you can add or remove them as needed. Sliding a towel under your door can also help reduce sound that carries in from other rooms in your home, especially if there are kids or other people in your home during working hours.
  • Upgrade the windows in the room to more soundproof versions. As a bonus, they’ll also keep you more comfortable as you work by blocking airflow in and out of the room and keeping the temperature consistent.
  • Blackout curtains on your windows help limit noise as well as light. Be sure to choose yours carefully — solid options in pale colors are less distracting than busy patterns.
  • Add area rugs to hard flooring surfaces. You should do this in your home office as well as the room above it if it contains hardwood, tile, or vinyl flooring that people walk across while you’re working.

Choose Calming Decor

It’s usually best to keep decor at a minimum if you have a sensory-processing disorder like autism, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give your home office some personality. Choose calming, simple pieces to liven things up without creating chaos, such as:

  • One or two potted plants.
  • Serene artwork, like landscape paintings.
  • Photos in matte picture frames.
  • A unique desk lamp that’s both functional and fun to look at.

Organize It Strategically

It’s difficult for anyone to work productively in a disorganized home office, but it can be an extremely overwhelming undertaking for remote employees. Use these strategies to create a space that will help you stay calm and focused:

  • Open up your layout. Even if you have a small work area, keep an open flow by arranging large pieces of furniture in a way where you don’t feel too closed in.
  • Keep the items you use the most within reach, including files, tablet devices, and pens and pencils.
  • Consider setting up stations that are devoted to each aspect of your job. For example, rather than work solely from your desk, use it to process orders and take client calls, and add a table where you package the items you need to ship to your customers.

Create a Schedule You Can See from Your Desk

If structure is helpful in keeping you feeling at ease, create a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule you can easily see from your desk. A large wall or desk calendar will help you create a timeline that helps you stay organized and confident about your daily routine.

Prioritize Comfort

Just as important as the space itself is what you fill it with. Be sure to invest in a comfortable office chair, a desk that gives you plenty of room to work, a quality laptop or desktop computer, an ergonomic mouse, and any other items that keep you comfortable while you work.

Keep It Clean

Keeping your office tidy and sanitary will remove sights and smells that can be distracting and overwhelming. If you’ve got a lot of stuff clogging up any aspect of your home office, whether the flow or organization of it, spend a few hours decluttering it. Remove anything you don’t absolutely need in your workspace, either by taking it to a different part of the home or selling, donating, or discarding it. Once you’ve downsized the amount of items, it will be much easier to keep it clean and prevent dust and other grime from building up, nuisances that can seriously rob you of feeling comfortable in your work area.

Creating a home office takes some strategy for any remote employee to feel comfortable and productive. If you have ASD, focus on creating a calming space that meets your specific needs by addressing the light, noise, and organizational issues that can trigger your autism symptoms.

How to Adapt Your Business to Survive in the COVID-19 Era

how your business can adapt to survive COVID19

Small businesses are taking a huge hit in the Coronavirus global pandemic. Many of them have to become more agile about the way they do business, while others have switched gears entirely. Many are closed—hopefully temporarily—as the crisis unfolds.

Small businesses have to adapt to the new normal. No matter how long we’ll face COVID-19—from months to years—there are many ways small businesses can survive (and even thrive). Here are a few ideas you can try on.

Cultivate Relationships

Has the Coronavirus crisis negatively impacted your business goals and profits? Connecting with your VIP clients is an effective way to keep your digital doors open. Nonprofits should give exclusive updates to major donors. Freelancers should check in with their most profitable contracts. E-commerce owners can send special offer emails to their frequent customers.

Be Innovative

This could be the time to take risks, try new things and create new solutions. Often we see the possibility in innovation, but the risk outweighs the reward. But that’s not the case for many business owners right now. Think of the most drastic change to your business since the onslaught of COVID-19. What greater risks are there than this pandemic?

Imagine Possibilities

Making business decisions can be scary in the midst of the unknown and unpredictable. It’s important that you imagine all the scenarios to plan immediate and long term solutions. For example, if you own a restaurant, what is the impact on your staff? Will you conduct layoffs? Will you offer curbside takeout— and if yes can your customers place orders online? Thinking about how each scenario will affect your business will also boost your ability to respond quickly and calmly to unexpected stress and surprise roadblocks.

Redesign Your Website

Let's face it: most people find information on the web. That means your website is the first impression most people will have of your business. As the world changes and your business grows, you'll probably want to consider redesigning your company's website. You can take your online presence to the next level with a beautiful design, eye-catching images, on-brand colors, and a clean, easy-to-use layout. Add a little extra flair with interactive elements, animations, or image carousels. Last but not least, make sure your site looks great across all web browsers, like Chrome and Internet Explorer, and on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.

Adapt Your Marketing

As your business changes your marketing should, too. Now is the time to go for paid social ads. Due to the Coronavirus, the cost per conversion is very low right now on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other auction-based social media platforms. This is a good time to promote why your business is essential during this crisis or offer something for free to entice customers— while also doing something nice in a time that is financially tough for many.

Be an Entrepreneur

How can your business address a specific need or challenge presented by the Coronavirus? Do you own a car wash? Become a mobile detailing service. Are you a web designer? Charge for webinars on basic site maintenance, free graphic design tools and skill-specific tutorials. Many businesses have to think like an entrepreneur if they want to adapt successfully. The key to making this work— entrepreneurs are usually risk tolerant, meaning they aren’t as bothered by the possibility of failure.

Supporting Remote Work

Whether you are managing a staff who have all transitioned to remote, or you are transitioning to remote work for the first time, telecommuting has many advantages and disadvantages. For businesses with employees working from home, consider doing a weekly Zoom happy hour or exercise together. Start using a communication platform like Slack, Skype or Teams so that everyone can communicate in real time. Staying connected is key to a positive full-remote transition. 

Surviving the Coronavirus crisis will only happen if we come together. The other side of this crisis could be really powerful for small businesses. Americans— the whole world— is taking a step back and slowing down. Use this time as an opportunity to improve your business. A slowing down is forced on all of us; how will you use it as a force for growth?

Photo: Pexels

Important Online Safety Tips for Employees Who Work from Home

More people than ever are working from home. While it’s a convenient — and often, necessary — setup, it’s not without its challenges. Working efficiently when you have kids, dealing with distractions, and fighting off feelings of isolation when you work remotely are all common issues when you clock in and out of a home office, but there’s another less-talked-about threat a lot of employees don’t consider: cybersecurity.

Online safety has become an increasingly important topic in our ever-changing digital world, but people who work from home need to be especially vigilant in taking digital security seriously. Not taking necessary precautions could not only slow down your productivity, it could also have major business ramifications. Our guide explains everything you need to know about online safety when you work from home.

Take Advantage of Corporate Resources

If you work remotely for a large company, you likely have tech, an information technology (IT) team, and other tools at your disposal to help you stay on top of online security. Even if you have your own equipment, use the hardware and software your employer offers as much as possible. Your corporate management team will make sure every necessary security feature is in place, and if there’s a data breach or another issue that threatens your business, your company’s higher-ups will be responsible for taking corrective action.

Designate Work-only Devices

If you live with others who use your work computer, your files and other information are vulnerable to cybercriminals. Even if it’s by accident, a family member or roommate could accidently open a harmful message or website, or accidently share work-related intel with others. To avoid this risk, be sure you have a computer that you and only you have access to. This also goes for other shared devices whenever possible. For example, it may not be possible (or practical) to have a second mobile phone, but the kids should have their own tablet to play games and stream videos on.

Install Antivirus and Antimalware Software on Your Computer

Opening emails and even visiting websites unfortunately carries the risk of installing something dangerous to your computer. Computer viruses and malware can cause damage that ranges from slowing down your core processes to completely wiping out your hard drive, but installing protective software can help you avert a disaster.

Encrypt Your Home’s WiFi Connection

Encrypting your WiFi essentially privatizes your connection so that others can’t use it without a password. This is important, because it makes it much more difficult for anyone to intercept your online activity: instead of seeing your files, virtual intruders will be sent jumbled, incoherent lines of code. Encrypting your WiFi is usually as simple as creating a password for it, but be sure to use something that won’t be easily guessed by others. Information like your wedding anniversary date and your children’s names are easy to remember and may seem like good go-tos, but these types of passwords are easy for hackers to figure out. Rather than go with pieces of info people may be able to look up, create a strong password that’s almost impossible to guess.

Secure Your Router

Your internet router will come with default login and password credentials, but they can be easy for crafty hackers to guess or find online. Be sure to update yours if you haven’t already.

Update Your Software

Computer and phone software updates usually include added security measures. Whatever programs you use for work, make updates as soon as you’re prompted. In addition to your computer, don’t forget about your smartphone and tablet. For example, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms frequently update their operating systems to address user issues, including those related to privacy and security.

Password-protect All of Your Work-related Devices

Your laptop, desktop computer, smartphone, tablet, and any other electronic tech you use should be protected with a password or another entry-barrier. Be sure to set one up for each, even on your work-designated devices.

Change Your Passwords Frequently

Keeping the same password for too long makes you vulnerable to being hacked. Be sure to change up your online passwords regularly for both business and personal use, and don’t forget to create a strong password that can’t be looked up.

In addition to changing them up regularly, don’t use the same password across multiple sites. If a hacker figures one out that you use for both personal and professional purposes, you may suffer serious career ramifications, especially if any of your clients’ data is stolen.

Cover Your Computer Camera when It’s Not in Use

It’s a scary thought, but hackers can access your camera without you knowing it. This could give them a view of not just you, but important files and even clues as to where you live. Keep your guard up by placing a webcam cover over it when it’s not in use. Even a Post-it Note or piece of taped-on fabric will do the trick (and won’t ruin your screen).

Other Online Safety Tips

Along with the measures listed above, be sure to put these cybersecurity strategies into practice:

  • Don’t open emails that look suspicious, and never open or download files if you don’t know exactly what they contain and who they came from. Even if you know who sent an email with attachments, it’s possible their email was hacked and the message contains a virus or malware.
  • Back up all of your files at least once a day. You don’t want to lose important information saved on your computer due to malware, a virus, or an overloaded power circuit that damages your computer.
  • Turn off your computer when it’s not in use to protect it from being remotely accessed by hackers.
  • Be cautious about connecting to public WiFi networks. It can be refreshing to break up working from home by visiting a coffee shop or park that allows WiFi access to its visitors, but it puts you at risk of hacking. A safer bet is using your smartphone’s mobile hotspot feature or another virtual private network (VPN), which you can password protect so you’re the only one logged onto it.
  • Keep all of your devices locked when you work in a public area and have to step away so others can’t access your information. Only leave your belongings if you absolutely have to, and return to them as quickly as possible.
  • Avoid sending business-related emails from your personal account. Should your personal email account’s password be stolen, you’ll still be able to securely use your work email.
  • Be very careful of sending your personal information out by email. You should never email your passwords, bank account information, Social Security Number (SSN), and other important data via email, and anyone who asks for it to be sent this way probably has bad intentions.

There are a lot of important steps for online safety you need to take if you work from home. Secure your devices’ hardware and software, make updates as soon as you’re prompted, and always err on the side of caution whether you’re working remotely in your home office or spending the day in a public workspace.

10 Part-time and Second Job Opportunities that Are Work-from-home

Even if they have a full-time position, some job seekers are on the hunt for second, part-time roles to earn a little extra money. Whether you’re struggling to make ends meet or want a little boost in your income, these work-from-home job opportunities offer flexibility and have the potential to provide significant second paychecks.

Customer Service Representative

Just about every big corporation needs customer service reps to take calls, chat online, and respond to emails from customers. The hours can almost always be tailored to your availability, no matter if you have a few hours in the mornings or evenings or are free and willing to work on weekends.

Pet Sitter

Watching pets in your own home is a great gig for folks who love animals, even if they don’t have a consistent schedule that allows them to have one of their own. Plus, no matter which days of the week you’re free, there’s almost always a pet parent looking for someone to care for their furry friend.

Online Tutor

Whether you’re a whiz in a variety of topics or particularly knowledgeable in a single one, you can put your skills to use without leaving the house. Students of all ages are looking for tutors who can help them excel in just about any subject you can think of, from history to cooking to playing an instrument.

English Language Teacher

Contrary to what many believe, you don’t necessarily have to be multilingual to teach English as a second language (ESL). There are many opportunities to help foreign-language speakers brush up on their skills. Because many of them live in other countries, you can still work this gig if you’re only available at odd hours, like late at night or early in the morning.


Companies both big and small almost always need writers and editors. As long as you can meet your deadlines, they don’t care when you work, which provides you with complete flexibility. You can even knock out assignments during your lunch break at your first job!


Businesses that share video and audio files on their websites want them transcribed for their customers who are deaf or hard of hearing. With this role, you’ll simply listen and type what you hear. Many people love this side job because it also allows them to learn something new or hear a unique human interest story, depending on the gig.

Sales Representative

If you’re a natural-born salesperson, you can earn a side income working for a company or even for yourself. Signing on with a large corporation usually earns you leads that helps you pull in income, but those who are entrepreneurial-minded can thrive with companies that allow them to sell ready-made products and earn commission on them.

Room Host

If you’re a homeowner with an extra room to spare, you can rent it out on sites like Airbnb as a (nearly) hassle-free way to earn some extra money. Since you also occupy the home, you don’t have to hire a property management group or cleaning company the way people who rent out vacation homes do. Keep in mind that if you’re a renter, you may be in violation of your lease by renting out even part of your space, so use caution.

Website Tester

Since many of us spend our free time surfing the web, why not get paid for it? Companies will pay you to review their sites based on factors like how quickly they load, how easy they are to navigate, and their overall design.


You can operate a store entirely online from home — without holding a single piece of inventory. Sites like Shopify allow you to set up a store, pick out your favorite products, and earn a commission on each item you sell, which are shipped directly to your customers from a third party.

Having the ability to work from home is a huge perk for anyone hoping to score a part-time second job. The opportunities we’ve listed make it easy to earn more income at the hours that are convenient to you — and they just may lead to your next full-time role.

15 Flexible Work-from-home Jobs for Stay-at-home Moms and Dads

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding jobs there is, and staying home with the kids is a gift many moms and dads get to enjoy each day. While ensuring our children grow up healthy and safe is definitely a full-time gig, some stay-at-home parents are in the market for an additional role. Of course, when you’re in charge of meal making, nap times, and cuddle sessions, flexibility is key when you’re searching for a job, and it can be tough to know where to start.

The good news is that there are a variety of options for stay-at-home parents looking for their next career move. Whether you’re looking for something full- or part-time, these job options can be adjusted no matter what you and your family’s schedule looks like so you can work from home efficiently with kids — and they don’t require you to leave the house.

Daycare or Babysitting

Watching other kids is a great way to earn an income while giving your little ones some company. Keep in mind that most states have licensing requirements as well as laws about your home environment and how many children you can watch at once. If you want to minimize the hoops you have to jump through, watching one or two friends’ children is a great way to bring in some extra money each week.

Writing and Editing

If you’re an experienced writer or editor, there are always job postings searching for remote freelancers to provide their services. While you’ll have to adhere to deadlines, you can work whichever hours are easiest for you.

If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit, you can even start your own website with your own content. It takes some time to make this type of venture profitable, but many parents have turned this part-time gig into full-time income. A lot of them even focus on their parenting journey, which is a great way to help other moms and dads from afar.

Fact Checker

Self-proclaimed nerds will enjoy doing research to ensure newspapers, professional journals, and corporations are publishing accurate information.

Graphic Designer

Graphic design is a broad term, and there are remote opportunities in this field for all kinds of parents. If you’re artistic, you can create images for websites and print publications. If you’re tech-savvy, you may enjoy building or updating websites for your clients. Either way, these positions are extremely flexible on working hours and time commitments.

Pet Sitting

If your family loves animals, there may be no better way for stay-at-home moms and dads to earn some side income. Pet parents can drop off their fur babies at your home and pick them up at the end of the day so you don’t have to commute. Of course, if you have dogs in your care, you will need to leave the house to take them on walks, but it’s a great excuse to enjoy some exercise and fresh air with your kids.

Online Teacher or Tutor

Whatever you’re knowledgeable about, online lessons for children and adults are always in demand. Whether you offer after-school math tutoring for teens or guitar classes for adults, you can set your teaching hours according to your schedule.

Teledoctor or Telenurse

Many healthcare providers are expanding their books of business by providing telehealth services. If you’re a doctor or nurse, you can set up virtual appointments with ailing patients on the phone or over the web at times convenient to you.

Virtual Assistant

Entrepreneurs and even corporations are often very open to hiring assistants who work from home. Plus, scheduling tasks, making appointments, and keeping things organized is a natural fit for any parent.

Brand Ambassador

Many of your favorite companies will pay you for your enthusiasm. You may be asked to write blog posts, review products, or record videos touting your loyalty. As a bonus, most brand ambassadors receive free products along with monetary compensation.

Travel Agent

Parents know all too well the struggle of needing to take a vacation, but not having the time or energy to plan one. You’re in good company, and many would-be wanderlusters will pay you to plan and book their accommodations.


Many companies need multilingual employees who can translate written, video, or audio material from one language to another. Depending on the project, these gigs can pay significant money.


If you’re a master on the sewing machine, turn your skills into a full-time role or side hustle. Your customers can drop off clothing they need tailored, or if you’re really crafty, you can create custom clothing for your clients.


Many certified public accountants (CPAs) work from home. While you may be especially busy for a few months of the year to meet tax filing deadlines, you can set your own hours. If you’re math-minded but don’t have a CPA license, working as a bookkeeper for small businesses is a great option.


If arts and crafts time is your favorite part of the day with the kids, you can turn it into a lucrative pursuit. Sites like Etsy and Shopify make it easy to post and sell your creations online, or you can take custom orders to add more variety to your hours as an artisan.

Online Survey Taker

There is no shortage of options to get paid for taking online surveys. Whether you have 10 minutes to answer questions about your favorite coffee or an hour to watch a new TV show, your opinion can count (dollars).

Whatever field you’re passionate about and no matter how much time you have, there are lots of great job opportunities for stay-at-home moms and dads. Parenting will always be your number-one priority, but if you’re ready to take on a new role, try taking on one (or even a few!) of these gigs.

20 Work-from-home Jobs for Seniors Who Want to Earn Extra Income in Retirement

If you’re a senior looking to supplement your income in retirement, there are plenty of jobs to choose from. Plus, you don’t even have to leave the house to bring in a paycheck, which is great news for seniors with disabilities. Whether you want to work for yourself as an entrepreneur or work for a large company, here are our top picks for senior-friendly, work-from-home jobs.

Work-from-home Jobs for Seniors

JobJob DescriptionAverage National Hourly Pay Rate*
ArtisanCreate crafts and sell them on online marketplaces.Rate set by individual seller
BookkeeperKeep records organized for individuals and businesses. Note: Certified public accountants (CPAs) who provide tax services can earn more.$12 - $18 for bookkeepers; CPAs set their own rates
Customer Service or Sales RepresentativeHelp companies retain or build their client base.$12 - $15
Data Entry SpecialistInput data online based on sales reports, customer data, and other information.$14 - $16
Graphic DesignerBuild websites, software, and apps for your clients.$22 - $32
HR CoordinatorHelp recruit and hire new talent.$18 - $22
Industry ConsultantOffer guidance to professionals in the industry where you spent your career.Rate varies based on industry
Information Technology (IT) RepresentativeGive assistance to employees experiencing technical issues with company equipment.$18 - $48*
Life CoachOffer insight to younger generations based on your personal and career experiences.$24 - $30
Marketing CoordinatorProvide promotional services, or become a brand ambassador.$20 - $24
Music InstructorTeach music lessons online.$16 - $22
Online JurorTake part in mock juries to help attorneys prepare for court.$5 - $120 per case
Online Teacher or TutorProvide lessons on a variety of subjects.$16 - $22
Pet SitterProvide pet care in your own home.$24 - $28 for day visits; $52 - $56 for overnight services
Resume WriterHelp job seekers strengthen their resumes.$50 - $250 based on client’s intended field of employment
TranscriptionistTranscribe audio and video files.$13 - $15
TranslatorConvert written, audio, or video information from one language to another.$18 - $22
Travel AgentPlan and book your customers’ travel accommodations.$20 - $28
Virtual AssistantKeep your employer organized by managing their schedule and files.$14 - $16
Writer/EditorWrite and edit your own content or for others.$14 - $30*

*Rate varies widely, depending on experience.

How to Work from Home Efficiently with Kids

Working from home takes a lot of planning for anyone, but adding kids into the equation entails an extra layer of complexity. Even the most well-behaved, self-sufficient children require (or request!) parental attention at some point during the day when they know Mom or Dad is home. To make a working-from-home situation as effective a setup as possible, there are key actions every parent should take.

How Parents Can Make Working from Home with Kids Easier

There are things you can do for yourself that will help both you and your children establish a smooth balance while you’re working from home. Start with these steps.

Be Honest About Your Situation

Let your employer, co-workers, and clients know that you’re working from home with children in tow. You don’t need to share every detail of your personal life, but being upfront about your situation helps prevent unexpected surprises, like a toddler busting through your door during a video call, a baby wailing while you’re onboarding a new employee via phone, or rescheduling a teleconference because of a sick child. Most people will be very understanding, and more likely than not, you’re not the only person in your network working with kids in the background.

Create a Dedicated Office Space

Having an area of your home that’s dedicated solely to working will help you get into business mode as soon as you enter it, no matter what the kids are doing a few rooms over. Plus, it’s an effective way to set a physical barrier between yourself and your brood, making it easier for your children to know when their parents are occupied.

Ideally, choose a quiet, out-of-the way space in your home that your family doesn’t need to use or pass by during the day. A spare room is great, but if you don’t have one available, a corner of the house that isn’t regularly used by your kids will do, but be sure to block it off with a room separator for added privacy.

Establish Office Hours that are Off Limits to Your Family

In addition to setting up your parents-only home office, set strict guidelines for your kids on when your office hours are — in other words, when they’re not allowed to disturb you. While putting a sign on your office door is a great strategy, it’s still important to discuss with your little ones the times Mommy or Daddy is unavailable. Especially for younger children, having a talk about what your office hours are and why they’re in place will help them feel more comfortable with them — and respect them.

Photo: Unsplash

Set a Schedule for Your Day

Setting office hours is a great way to help you work more efficiently from home, but it’s just as important to come up with a plan of how you’ll fill your nine-to-five schedule every day. That way, you’ll be able to easily transition from one task to another, even if you have to step away for a few minutes to tend to your children.

Take a few minutes at the end of each day to plan for the next, or spare a few minutes every morning to make a schedule for the day ahead. Taking it a day at a time allows room for flexibility, since your schedule may need to be modified in your work-from-home setting.

Don’t forget to schedule breaks in between must-do agenda items. Taking a few beats throughout your day will help you stay focused and prevent burnout, which ultimately makes you a better worker. It’s up to you whether you want to schedule any of your breaks with your kids. Their ages, your home support system, and your daily work schedule will all play a role in this decision. However, many parents find it helpful to schedule their lunch breaks with their little ones and take shorter breaks on their own. Doing so allows you to spend some time together so they won’t feel as deprived of your time (which may lead to better behavior while you’re on the clock), but still allows you some solo moments to recharge.

Multitask with Caution

Taking care of your children while you’re working may sound like an ideal setup for you and your little ones, but this kind of multitasking could end up backfiring. For example, many parents who work from home recommend wearing a carrier to hold your baby against your body, because it can be a hands-free way to reduce crying and allow you to stay mobile. However, while this sounds good in theory, it could actually end up being more distracting than helpful, and it may even make separation from you harder for your child in the long run.

Consider Your Options for Help

Ideally, your partner should be part of your work-from-home equation. If you both work remotely, aim for an arrangement that allows you to trade off childcare responsibilities. Unless there are special circumstances, the responsibility shouldn’t fall on one parent.

If you’re a single parent or your spouse works outside the home, it can be helpful to bring in some assistance, even if only for part of the day. If your budget or other restrictions don’t allow you to recruit professional help, an older kid can be a great babysitting resource. Based on their age and maturity level, you can assign childcare as a chore or pay them for their support.

Be Willing to Adjust Your Schedule

No matter how dedicated you are to your career, there are going to be times when working from home simply isn’t going to happen. If your kids are sick and need more attention than when they’re healthy, for example, it may make sense for you to shift your working hours, like working only while they nap and after they’ve gone to bed. Try not to stress if you have to rearrange your workday to accommodate your children — just about every working parent has been in your shoes at some point, so your manager, co-workers, and clients will most likely be very understanding. Don’t forget that you can use sick time or other PTO as needed, too — that’s what it’s there for!

How to Help Your Kids Adjust when You’re Working from Home

In addition to taking steps on your own behalf, there are also actions you should take for your children. Whenever possible, allow them to be actively involved in these steps — they’ll be more likely to get on board with your new normal, because they’ll feel they have a say in your family’s daily routine.

Photo: Unsplash

Put Them on a Schedule that Keeps Them Occupied

Kids thrive on structure, so be sure to give them a schedule to follow that allows them to go through their day with as little supervision as needed. Try not to worry too much about what keeps them busy while you’re working. You may be adamant about limiting their computer or TV screen time during the weekends, but if an extra hour of playing video games keeps them out of your hair while you’re at work, go with the flow.

Set Boundaries and Disciplinary Measures

Kids need to know that you’re off limits when you’re working, so if they break this rule, there need to be consequences. Many kids will respect your boundaries just knowing a punishment is in place, and for many others, it will only take one or two timeouts to understand they need to follow the rules.

Acknowledge Good Behavior

Similarly, be sure to reward good behavior. Having a parent work from home can be a confusing setup for many children, so it’s important to show your appreciation when they respect the rules. You don’t have to buy them a toy every day they follow your work boundaries, but even saying thank you or giving them extra TV time is a meaningful way to encourage them to keep up the good work.

Working from home efficiently with kids may seem like an unattainable dream for parents who are remote employees, but there are a lot of great ways to get the whole family on the same page. Remember that communication with your children, partner, and employer is key, and don’t be afraid to experiment until you find a solution that works for every member of your tribe.

How to Set Up a Distraction-free Home Office and Work Productively when You Have ADHD

Working from home can be a tricky task for any remote employee — but when you have attention-deficit disorder (ADD) or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), being productive in a home office can feel like a monumental undertaking. Don’t be discouraged: there are plenty of great ways to create a home office and a daily structure that will help you find career success and establish a healthy work-life balance.

Pick a Quiet, Low-traffic Area to Use as Your Office — and Only Your Office

In order to limit distractions, it’s important to set up a designated home office space in an area that’s as far removed from your other family members and the daily goings-on of your house as possible. This will help reduce attention-diverting noise and make it less likely that your kids, spouse, or roommate will interrupt your daily workflow.

Whether you work in a spare bedroom, an empty walk-in closet, or the corner of a room you partition out of sight, make this area a work-only zone. No matter its form, having a space dedicated solely to work will help you get mentally prepared to put your nose to the grindstone as soon as you enter it. Plus, keeping it separate from the other parts of your home helps improve your work-life balance. To increase its distraction-free power, paint it in a calming color, like beige, pale blue, or light green, which can help improve focus. Keep decor minimal, but consider adding a live plant, which can also boost your mood and productivity.

If you do need to use your computer outside of work, move it to a space outside of your office. If you currently use a desktop that you can’t transport from room to room, a laptop computer or even a tablet you can connect to a keyboard is a worthwhile investment.

Eliminate Obvious Distractions

Anything that uses your focus in your free time will rob you of productivity when you’re on the clock. Distractions are unique to each person, but some of the most common offenders that should be kept out of the office for people with (and even without!) ADHD include:

  • TVs: Rather than a television, listen to the radio or a favorite online playlist when you’re at work.
  • Tablets: Because they can be used for non-work-related activities, it’s better to keep them out of your home office.
  • Gaming consoles: Move these devices to the family room.
  • Personal cell phone: If you don’t use your phone for work, keep it in another room during office hours. Even if you can restrain yourself from using it to kill time, receiving a phone call or text is a quick way to take your mind away from your job.
  • Clutter: Whether it takes up a section or the entirety of your office, a messy area pulls your focus from the task at hand.

Remove Sneaky Distractions

Some things may not seem like distractions, but could end up being huge interruptions to your day. Try to make note of anything that doesn’t automatically present itself as a distraction but ends up detracting your focus so you can address it accordingly. Keep in mind that elements you can’t permanently remove can still be adjusted to make them less of a nuisance. A few common covert distractions include:

  • Social media: You don’t have to deactivate your social media accounts, but it’s helpful to block access to them while you’re working and uninstall their apps on your phone so you won’t be tempted to check your feed every 15 minutes.
  • Pets: Close your office door to keep beloved but bothersome critters out.
  • Large windows: Install blinds or shades so you don’t get distracted by passersby.
  • Artwork and decor: Any pieces that don’t promote a sense of calm should be moved to another part of the house.
  • Board games, books, and other activities: Anything that catches your eye and has you counting down the minutes to the end of the day should get the boot.

Photo: Unsplash

Keep Everything You Need in Your Office

Leaving your distraction-free office and entering a chaotic home environment can break your concentration. Even if you only plan on leaving for a minute, having your focus pulled can result in a longer outing (read: more time away from work) than you intended. Be sure your office is well-stocked with everything you need. In addition to office supplies like your computer, printer, and scanner, be sure you’ve got a supply of items like:

  • Software
  • Extra lighting, like a desk lamp
  • Cables, cords, and surge protectors
  • Tissues
  • Snacks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Clock
  • Wall calendar

You may even want to think about adding a water dispenser, coffee maker, and mini fridge to truly minimize the number of times you’ll need to leave your office. Cutting the frequency of trips to the kitchen for a refill on your coffee or to grab your lunch can be a huge help in keeping you from finding ways to go off task.

Make a Schedule, and Stick to It

It’s easy to stray if you’re trying to figure out what your next task should be. To prevent this, make a schedule ahead of time, and commit to sticking to it. How far ahead you make plans for your day will be based on your job and what works best for you in general. The bottom line is you need to go into your workday knowing what your timeline will look like so you have a plan of action.

In addition to work-related items, also be sure to schedule daily must-dos so you are able to more easily maintain a normal routine. This will help prevent you from realizing you didn’t take a shower, and then taking an hour out of your day to bathe — and fixate on a bathroom project you haven’t gotten to yet.

Keep in mind that if you tend to get hyper-focused on the task at hand and lose track of time, it can be hard to stick to a schedule — which, unfortunately, can kill your motivation during the workday. If this sounds familiar, try setting an alarm to alert you when it’s time to move from one item on your agenda to the next.

Designate Office Hours

It’s important to let your friends and family members — whether they live with you or not — know when you’re on the clock and not to be disturbed. These office hours are times when your partner, kids, and other roommates should avoid coming into your designated workspace and contacting you by phone or email (at the very least, they shouldn’t expect you to respond until you’re off the clock). This will help you not only maintain your focus on your job, but also help you establish a work-life balance: once you’re on the clock, you’re at work, and once you leave work, you can truly leave it behind you, even though you’re still at home.

Photo: Pixabay

Take Breaks

When you’re feeling burnt out after working for a long stretch, it’s easy to look for distractions. Taking breaks helps you avoid feeling overwhelmed, and hitting the “pause” button periodically throughout the day will give you a mental break that will ultimately boost your productivity. Make breaks a scheduled part of your day like you would any other task or appointment.

Find a Work Buddy

Thanks to technology, working remotely doesn’t mean you have to work alone. If it helps your efficiency to work alongside someone who will help keep you on track, reach out to a co-worker about scheduling a block of time when you can chat and collaborate on a project together. As a bonus, it will help break up your day, and the time — although productive — will fly by.

Keep Up with Your Medication

Whether you take a stimulant (an amphetamine or methylphenidate, like Adderall or Ritalin) or a non-stimulant (such as Strattera or Kapvay), don’t change the dosage or frequency of your medication without your doctor’s consent. Not working in a formal office setting — and therefore, not being exposed to the same ADHD triggers you were before — doesn’t mean your prescription won’t help ease your most discouraging symptoms. As always, be sure to check with your doc if you think you need a medication adjustment, but until then, take your prescribed dosage at the same time each day.

Perhaps most importantly of all, have patience. It takes time and practice for anyone — with or without ADHD — to work from home efficiently. Give yourself some time to settle in, make adjustments as necessary, and before long, you’ll feel right at not-home in your home office.

10 Ways to Deal with Feelings of Isolation as a Home-based Employee

Working from home has all kinds of benefits. You cut out your daily commute, which saves you money on transportation costs and allows you to spend more time with your family. Plus, you’re largely able to set your own hours, which gives you the freedom to schedule your day in a way that works for you, which naturally helps minimize stress. Unfortunately, one of the major downsides of being a home-based employee is feeling lonely and isolated — not just from your company and co-workers, but also from the world around you.

Many companies allow you the flexibility to come into the office part-time, but for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and employees whose companies are entirely remote, that may not be a possibility. However, there are several great ways to keep feelings of isolation at bay, even when leaving the house isn’t a convenient option.

Move Your Home Office

While having a dedicated home office is important for your productivity and work-life balance, changing up where you spend your workday can be a refreshing change of pace that helps you feel less caged in. Set aside one day a week to work in a different area, or pick up and move as soon as you start feeling anxious. If you have a partner, roommate, or kids at home who might distract you if you relocate to another room, consider working outside. Being outdoors has proven mental health benefits, and there’s no better way to free yourself from feelings of isolation than to escape into nature.

Recruit a Virtual Co-worker

If there are others in your company working remotely, setting up times to work together online via Skype, Zoom, or even by phone can help you feel more connected to your co-worker and your overall organization. Even solo projects that don’t require a collaborator can feel more fulfilling if you work through them while on speakerphone with a peer.

Mentor an Up-and-comer

Similarly, taking someone under your wing will not only be a wonderful way to help someone breaking into your industry or looking to move up in it, it can also provide a sense of accomplishment you may not get from working on your own full time. Talk to your boss about joining (or starting) a mentorship program within your company, or check out opportunities through local high schools and colleges.

Adopt a Pet

Dogs, cats, and other critters aren’t your typical co-worker, but they are a sure way to reduce your loneliness both on and off the clock. If you don’t have the energy to train a young pet, bringing home an animal that’s at least a year old will provide you with the company you crave, but won’t require an investment in time (and patience) in house breaking, leash training, or litter box learning.

Take Socialization Breaks

Rather than spend your lunch hour alone, take the time to catch up with a friend or family member on the phone. This is akin to meeting up for a coffee at a local cafe or sharing a meal with a co-worker in the breakroom, and can significantly take the edge off an otherwise lonely day.

Join an Online Group

No matter if you find an online community comprised of people in your industry or a general group of remote employees across multiple lines of work, having people to turn to who can relate to your role in one form or another will help make your world a little cozier. Not only will you have the opportunity to create friendships, you may also be able to build your business.

Get Out of the House

If you’re able to, getting out of the house and setting up shop at a friend’s house, co-working space, or even your local coffee house can help reduce feelings of isolation. Even if you go to a public space without a work buddy, being around other people and hearing the hustle and bustle of activity may help you feel less lonely.

Communicate with Your Employer About Your Needs

It’s in your manager’s (and your entire organization’s) best interest for you to feel your best. After all, an unhappy employee is less likely to feel motivated to do their best work. If there is something your employer can do to help you, let them know. Does regular feedback on projects you’ve turned in help you feel more connected to your supervisor and your company? Would monthly phone-based meetings foster more meaningful relationships with your co-workers? Will a monthly stipend to cover the expense of a co-working space reduce your loneliness? Whatever it is you need, reach out to your manager to see how your company can accommodate you.

Practice Self-care

Be sure to practice self-care at home both on and off the clock. If you’re feeling tense from a rough day and don’t have anyone to vent to, taking a few minutes to stretch your neck, shoulders, or other tight spots can make a world of difference. If exercise helps provide you with a mental escape, block off some time to go for a run or follow a workout video on YouTube. Don’t forget about prioritizing basic self-care practices, either — eating a nutritious diet, making time to pursue a beloved hobby, and getting a full night of sleep are all essential wellness habits you shouldn’t neglect.

Work with a Mental Health Professional

If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed with feelings of isolation even after trying to ease them, there may be a bigger mental health issue at play, such as depression or generalized anxiety disorder. You don’t have to suffer. Reaching out to a mental health specialist, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor, is a great first step to make permanent strides in improving your overall wellness. They may suggest medication, talk therapy, or a combination of both to help you begin to feel better.

Finding ways to be social, practicing fundamental self-care habits, and reaching out for professional help when you’re feeling overwhelmed are all healthy coping tools for dealing with feelings of isolation as a home-based employee. Working from home is a struggle for most remote employees at one point or another, so if you’re new to this arrangement, try to give it some time, and never hesitate to reach out to your supervisor, peers, and family and friends to help you foster and build the social connections that will help you stay emotionally well.