How to Work from Home: A Short Guide Featuring 10+ Proven Tools

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Do you want to learn how to work from home?

Like many, I’ve worked from home for years as a journalist, copywriter, and more recently while running my site Become a Writer Today.

My story is hardly unique.

More than 57% of workers have a flexible schedule, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number has grown exponentially since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Experienced home-based workers are independent, self-motivated, and focused. If this describes you, how can you get started with remote working and find jobs? And what equipment do you need?

Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links, meaning I earn a small commission if you purchase the products I recommend.

What Kind of Work Can I Do From Home?

Remote working is ideal for writers, authors, web designers, interpreters, teachers or tutors, graphic designers, editors, transcriptionists and more.

Basically, anyone engaged in knowledge or creative work can earn a good living or build a meaningful career from their house or apartment.

How to Work from Home

Establish a clear reason why you want a remote job.

  • Is it a short-or long-term career goal? Remote work offers a level of independence not possible in a traditional office setting, but self-motivation is key. No one is going to check what you’re doing.
  • What ground rules will you establish to ensure your remote work career succeeds? Effective remote workers know what their time is worth and set hard boundaries about the types of projects they’ll work on. They also set their environment up for productive remote work. Despite the cliche, they rarely work in bed or while wearing pajamas.
  • What does your ideal work from home schedule look like? Productive workers follow a daily schedule. They avoid letting work spill out into their free time or the weekends.

How Do I Find Legitimate Work From Home Jobs?

Discover work from home jobs by tapping into your professional network and building a portfolio online. Over the past few months, I tried several services employers use. If you need work today, consider using Solid Gigs, Bonsai, and Flexjobs for your job search.

Flexjobs is particularly useful if you’re a freelancer working because finding the next work at home-based jobs is almost as important as having the current one. It costs approximately $15 per month, although Flexjobs regularly discounts this price for remote workers.

Read this Flexjobs review.

Also check out my list of writing jobs.

What Are the Best Work from Home Tools?

Most work at home jobs require a desk, computer and somewhere you can focus. If a home office is unavailable, create a space free of distractions like a television, phone or game console. You’ll need several other tools too.

1. Video-conferencing

Zoom

What it’s for: Zoom is used to collaborate and meet with people around the world, including team members, employers, clients, and interviewees. 

Video conferencing tools like Zoom enable you to be part of a wider team, even while working remotely. You can see each other, join in discussions, share documents and collaborate. I also use Zoom to record interviews for articles I’m researching.

Cost: A 30-minute Zoom call is free. Longer calls and recordings start at $14.99 per month. 

2. Proofreading

Grammarly

What it’s for:  This writing tool allows you to find and fix errors in your writing quickly and easily and contains plugins for Google Docs, Word, and more.

Cost: The basic version of Grammarly is free, and the premium version costs $29.99 a month. 

Read this Grammarly review.

3. Project management

Trello

What it’s for: Trello allows workers to collaborate with others and manage complicated projects. It allows groups to interact on projects faster than email. I use the free version to manage projects for my site, Become a Writer Today.

Cost: Pricing options range from free to Enterprise level, at $20.83 monthly. 

4. Email and collaboration

G-Suite 

What it’s for: G-Suite is a comprehensive set of tools that includes – Drive, Gmail, Meet, Docs, Calendar, Sheets, and more. This suite should take care of your word processing, email, spreadsheet, and even basic video conferencing. 

Cost: Pricing options per user range from $6 each month for Basic to $25 per month for Enterprise. 

5. Your computer

Best laptop: 13 inch MacBook Air (2020 model)

What it’s for: The MacBook Air is an ideal portable laptop. It has enough power to support most remote job tasks including email, writing, and research. 

Cost: Pricing starts at $949. 

Best desktop: 27 inch iMac

What it’s for: The larger screen of this iMac enables me to open two windows at once. I also find it useful for self-editing, as I can open two documents side-by-side. 

Cost: Pricing starts at $1299. 

6. Mouse and Keyboard

Best mouse: Logitech MX Master 3

Best keyboard: Logitech MX Keys

What it’s for: This mouse and keyboard helped me with repetitive strain injury. It also includes some extra customisable buttons and feels more sturdy than a Magic Mouse.

Cost: Mouse starts at $106. Keyboard starts at $159.

Also see this roundup of the best keyboards.

7. Noise-canceling headphones

Sony Noise Canceling Headphones WH1000XM3

What it’s for: Noise-canceling headphones allow you to focus on your work, even if your environment is distracting. I have an earlier version of these headphones, which I use to listen to ambient music while working.

Cost: This set of noise-canceling headphones costs $348. 

8. Light

BenQ Blue Genie E-Reading LED Light or a Banker’s Light

What it’s for: Proper lighting is an essential part of a workspace, particularly if you’re reading text or proofing. The BenQ Blue Genie LED Light is one good option. I also like a banker’s light because of its old-school design. 

Cost: $59-230 

9. A password manager

Remote workers tend to use more software than office workers as they have to collaborate. 

What it’s for: If you find managing passwords a headache, LastPass and 1Password both are useful. 

Cost: LastPass is free. The premium version costs $2 per month. The more feature-rich 1Password costs $64.99, but you can take advantage of a free trial first.

Both are useful additions to your toolbox, but I find 1Password easier to use.

10. Other remote working equipment

You’ll need a good pen and a desk.

A large desk is good for confining work to one place in your house or apartment. Any pen will do, but a fountain pen is more pleasing to use than a cheap ballpoint.

Also, remember to invest in a good internet connection! In fact, I have two in case the first one drops.

Read my guides about the best pens and the best writing desks.

The Joys of Remote Work

Remote work offers independence and flexibility, but it takes time, planning and the right equipment.

Although working from home can be challenging, I would never go back to an office. Independent, self-motivated workers can easily build a career at home.

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How to Work from Home: A Short Guide Featuring 10+ Proven Tools
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