Thinking outside the workspace: 50 jobs that don’t require working in an office

15th Mar 2017
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With the world increasingly going digital, the entire structure of the professional environment is beginning to change. A decade ago, the rigid nine-to-five culture was the norm. The term ‘office’ automatically meant a space outside one’s home.

Today however, an office could mean your bedside table, your favourite coffee-shop, or a rented room in a different city. Putting it simply, your office is wherever you wish to make it – as long as you possess the tools necessary to work effectively.

Analysts have observed a rising trend in remote working across the world. A 2015 Gallup report showed that the percentage of ‘telecommuters’ or individuals who worked from home had jumped up by a good 30 percent from the last decade, in just the United States itself. The same report conducted a survey in which 56 percent believed that those who work remotely are just as productive as those who work in offices. On the other hand, 24 percent said that telecommuters are more productive while 18 percent believed they are less productive.

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The reason for this significant rise in working remotely is possibly due to the game-changing technological advancements that have occurred across the world over the last decade, which have given individuals the freedom to work from anywhere.

According to a New York Times report, individuals looking to enter the workforce are now favouring jobs which allow the occasional remote working in lieu of those that continue to function on a fixed schedule. It also states that employees who work from home strongly believe that flexible hours will help reduce the ever-widening pay gap that has plagued the professional world since times immemorial.

“Employees are pushing companies to break down the long-established structures and policies that traditionally have influenced their workdays,” it said.

While these numbers focus specifically on that percentage of professionals choosing to opt out from the ‘office culture’ by working remotely, there are others whose daily work itinerary doesn’t require the use of an office at all. These professionals spend most of their week on the field (used generically) and can thus easily carry out their responsibilities without the need of a company-owned desk, cubicle, or workspace.

On that note, for those of you seeking a job that doesn’t entail sprinting into office every day, here are a few options you may wish to consider.

Freelance writer

Freelance writing is possibly one of the most lucrative options for those wishing to make money without spending all their time roughing it in office. Today, sites like freelancer.com and elance.com provide easy ways to procure a freelance writing gig. Individuals and organisations from all over the world can reach out to you about projects that suit your profile. The best part about this is that most of the time, the details of the project, including the amount that you will be paid for it, is usually provided beforehand, thus helping you decide whether it is worth your time and effort. You can increase your monthly revenue by taking on multiple projects from either the same or different source, a highly encouraged practice, considering the ample monetary compensation and experience you can receive.

Affiliated writer

This is a fairly regular practice among digital media houses today. As a writer for a company, you can secure an agreement with the latter, which allows you to carry out your work from home or elsewhere, whilst receiving the benefits of a full-time employee. This will help in not only increasing the number of productive hours for you in lieu of the ones you spent commuting, it will also save you from commuting expenses. Coupled with this, the fact that you won’t have the distractions of an office-working space and can thus work at a long-stretch is an added bonus.

Editor/Reviewer

With more and more companies dishing out online content to go viral, the need for proofread and flawless copies has increased fourfold. As a result, the demand for editors and reviewers is high in the online market today. Be it at either a freelance or full-time affiliated capacity, the position is another one budding with bursting potential and opportunities.

Marketing manager

While most companies have their own sales and marketing teams, many small-scale organisations outsource their work to independent and solicited marketing managers. As unbiased individuals with a well-rounded idea of the market at large, experienced marketing managers are valuable to their growth. At the same time, being hired on a project basis is a win-win for both parties, considering it will cost less than hiring a full-time marketing manager and at the same time it will earn you your next paycheque.

YouTube channel owner

The access that the internet gives us today can function as the very basis of our careers. Today, individuals who manage their own YouTube channels effectively have acquired a near-celebrity status. Names like Superwoman (Lily Singh) and AIB are well-known among active internet users, because of their smart branding and marketing through the use of this leading platform and its infinite reaches. To know how to make money off your YouTube channel, click here.

Healthcare consultant

Healthcare organisations are always on the lookout for management analysts who can give them feedback on how to improve their existing structures. As someone looking to get into this post, you have to actively keep track of the organisation’s profits as well as their efficiency-levels, and suggest new measures for them to implement in order to receive greater numbers and a better brand value in the longer run.

Recruiter

Headhunting is a serious business. Ironically, those procuring new talent for an organisation do not necessarily need to be a part of the company. Companies have begun to reach out to independent recruitment managers on the basis of their brand value, to track down potential candidates for their companies.

Blogging

Blogging is another highly recommended and fruitful prospect for those looking to work remotely. To run a successful blog online, all one needs is a computer and a fast internet connection. Some of the most successful content companies today, such as Mashable and Gizmodo, are ones that function as blogging sites that can boast of a tremendous reach across the country.

Freelance graphic designer

There’s a common joke among graphic designers that they receive their biggest pay-checks when they’re working from home. Putting it simply, when graphic designers are affiliated with a company, chances are that their contracts will not allow them to take on any projects outside of the same. However, freelance graphic designers can take on as many projects as they wish and working remotely, have the time available to be invested in the same.

Social media marketer

The only physical tools one needs for this job are a computer and a Wi-Fi router. Companies worldwide have realised the fast-rising importance and influence of social media, and as a result, a majority of them have even employed an entire social media team to promote their business online. Tracking changing trends, the most active user-base time, and analysing the company’s online statistics, the social media marketers are online day in and night out, with the freedom of working from anywhere with a good internet connection.

SEO consultant

SEO is the backbone of digital marketing strategy, and it is quite common for digital-based companies to outsource their website optimisation to an SEO consultant. This is because outsourcing is a cost-effective measure which reduces the burden of employing new staffers and provides them with special training in the same. It also allows the company to remain focused on one goal while they rely on another’s capability to raise the popularity and presence of their sites.

Freelance photographer

As a freelance photographer, you have the option of signing up with a number of projects and even organisations at one go, because there is never a dearth of work available for you. Through the medium of your camera lens and its display on the computer-screen, you can work from anywhere in the world!

Web designer

All companies require a website. As a result, the demand for freelance web designers has always been high, since a lot of these companies, whilst starting out, do not possess the resources to build their own website from scratch.

Yoga instructor

As a Yoga instructor, the need for an office doesn’t seem too practical, as in all probability you will be travelling between client houses or hosting sessions in your own house. With even the Prime Minister promoting the art of yoga through our country, opportunities of travelling to different cities to attend conventions and workshops are another perk you can look into.

Commission-based online re-seller

While companies like eBay and OLX are popular for being the middle-men between their clients and customers, individuals, too, are endorsing this practice. Beginning small – with the family and friend circuits – commission-based resellers can pick up commodities which their clients wish to sell off and with a certain cut for themselves, sell online at a higher rate to all interested bidders. Naturally, this can be worked from anywhere with a computer and an internet connection.

Ghostwriter

While not many people choose ghost writing as a full-time profession, it is a great part-time opportunity for those with an affinity for the written word. Celebrities, businessmen, and even politicians pass on the responsibility of their biographies and autobiographies to ghostwriters, paying them handsomely for it.

Artist

It has often been said that all an artist needs in his or her life are a pencil and a piece of paper. While this may form the very basis of their profession, it is an oversimplification. Professional artists definitely need several more advanced tools than that while creating their next masterpiece. However, these tools do not necessarily require the confines of an office (except for those who frequent rented or bought studios), and artists often take off to picturesque locations to seek inspiration for their creations.

Chef/Baker

Venturing a guess that chefs and bakers don’t stroll into the kitchen to make their food, we’d say that this is definitely one job that doesn’t require the need for a rented office space. After all, delicacies are created in the kitchen, not atop office desks! Some of the greatest food-based companies started out of their own kitchens and after a round of series funding, now have their own restaurant or bakery chains.

Coach

As a coach, your work involves the people you take under your wing, not around the files lying on a desk. Be it life-coaching, sports-coaching, or even vocal-coaching, each day will involve either physically meeting your client outside or interacting with them online.

Tuition teacher

As a tuition teacher, your classroom could be anywhere you choose – be it your own house, your student’s house, or in a rented space. A tuition teacher’s work lies with the students, through what he or she writes on the blackboard or explains through their notebooks.

Online course builder

Online course building, as the name suggests, entails teaching online from anywhere in the world. Simply put, it’s like holding classes as a tuition teacher, only where the classroom features through the four-squared screen of your computer and you interact with your students virtually.

Event planner

Event planning holds the potential of making the big bucks, if you have the ability and experience in the field to carry it out. Be it teaming up with organisations like NGOs to help plan their events or even taking on personal projects like weddings and birthdays, you could work independently from anywhere, as long as you have spent enough time building up your brand value in order to be recommended.

Researcher

As a researcher, your work will involve scouting libraries and laboratories, physical or online. While you will have to run around for the occasional symposia, there is no need for a single rented space to frequent on a daily basis.

Translator

Translators are high in demand across industries nowadays. In today’s globalised world, more and more professional relations are built with individuals and organizations from overseas networks, many of whom do not speak a universal language. For these instances, an independent translator will be required as a middleman between the organisation and client. He or she will also possess the freedom of taking on as many projects as they can fit in their schedule.

Scriptwriter

Be it independently or with a small team, scriptwriters who aren’t affiliated with any particular production house have the freedom of working from the comfort of their homes, coffee-shops, or even from location sites they wish to include in their script. Their work involves writing, communicating, re-writing, and travelling for inspiration.

Small boutique owner

In order to administer a certain degree of cost-cutting, small-scale boutique owners prefer to display their clothes and accessories to clients, right inside their homes. In this way, they save on spending money on manpower and other resources involved in renting and maintaining a studio-space, which, keeping in mind the rising rates of real-estate property in the metropolitan cities, can be exorbitant.

Data entry worker

Although this may not be the most glamorous job out there, the demand for data-entry workers remains high. This is because in most small-scale companies, there is more data that needs to be updated into the systems than the people who have been employed to do exactly this. Even working remotely, individuals can update the data into a computer-system database, using a keyboard, optical scanner, or data recorders as their tools.

Copywriter

Copywriters are the backbone of the advertising world. The entire campaign revolves around them, considering it is their responsibility to explain to the client, in a simplistic way, what it aims to accomplish or portray. As either employees or freelancers, copywriters can work from any place with a computer and internet connection, considering they only pen down their sentences after receiving the finished end-product.

Author

Being an author isn’t just about odd hour-working, cups of unfinished black coffee, and crumbled notes of paper strewn across the floor. Being an author is about seeking inspiration from people and places, and writing your story. It’s about observing and interacting with all kinds of individuals and, contrary to popular belief, is possibly one of the most on-the-go jobs there is out there.

Interior designer

Interior designers work on decorating or renovating homes or offices for clients. Working with furniture companies, scheduling work-timings with carpenters, and all the while coordinating with the client’s home hours can be exhausting to say the least. However, it is certainly a highly interesting and enriching profession which does not require being confined by fixed hours and an office desk.

Software developer

Would technology reach where it is today without the mandatory contributions of software developers across the world? From developing the very applications we utilise to the very systems they work on, this is the perfect profession for those with an affinity to program and learn. Companies, especially tech-based startups, are known to hire independent software developers to create and launch their apps and websites – the very foundation of their existence.

Travel counsellor

For those with a penchant for creating interesting itineraries, this is an ideal part-time profession which can be worked at from any part of the world. Since the travel industry is slowly turning digital, most of your work as a travel counsellor will be through the use of the internet, in order to secure the best deals at the cheapest prices.

Transcriptionist

Transcribing videos requires two great tools – powerful headphones and great concentration. A transcriber’s work lies purely within his or her computer. They receive material that needs to be transcribed word by word, usually through the internet. While the visual medium is still the most attractive form of communication for most people, what a person is stating in a speech or debate is equally important to have on record, to be referred to at a later date.

Case manager

Case managers are often also called social and human service assistants, considering that their job is to provide effective solutions to people in light of their varying problems. Be it advice, treatment, or recovery programmes, they provide the necessary care that clients require.

Direct salesperson

While e-commerce is trudging up in numbers, there is still a fair share of companies which work on a direct sales structure. These companies depend on hired individuals whose job it is to procure sales for them, by going door-to-door to sell the product or service in question.

Search engine evaluator

As a search engine evaluator, it is your responsibility to scrutinise the relevancy of pages that appear on search engines like Google and Bing. Simply put, you need to determine whether the articles popping up as per the keywords typed in have any relevance to them. While the dynamics of the business are complex within itself, a career in the same allows flexible work hours and the freedom to work anywhere with a functioning computer and internet connection.

Customer service representative

Our interaction with customer service representatives is usually limited to phone conversations. However, in certain situations they can even be called upon to fix a problem with the associated product or service. As a result, their work usually entails providing solutions both virtually and outdoors.

Dance/Music instructor

Professionally trained dance and music instructors have no need for a fixed-hour working schedule or an everyday office. They could either hold classes in a rented studio or travel to the student’s home to train them. In some cases, the instructor can even hold classes in his or her own home.

Independent designer

For designers who are looking to flourish a business while maintaining cost-control, the best way to do this is either by working out of your own house, or if you are tried for space, then to move along your business to a rented room in a studio. In this process, you could save on spending hard-earned revenue on renting a whole-rounded office space and can use your company’s savings to employ both additional man-power and tools.

Home-based catering

While the provision of cafeterias in and around offices is a saving grace for professionals, they do not provide a healthy or sustainable food source in the long run. And so, individuals and organisations have begun to carry out catering services for healthy, home-cooked foods. Companies like Holachef and Tinyowl are the starrers in this accord.

Telemarketing

Telemarketing is a profession which is carried out almost entirely through the telephone. Salespersons are given the challenging responsibility of convincing potential customers to purchase their company’s products. Considering the short-lasting patience levels of today’s ever-busy customers, the job entails bucket-loads of stellar communication skills and an ocean’s worth of calm and patience.

Data analyst

Companies require data analysts to tell them the valuation of their existing numbers, as well as providing them with strategies on how to increase these same numbers. For instance, in the case of a digital media company, an affiliated data analyst needs to track the number of content going out, how it is being received among the target audience, as well as the best time of the day that it should be published or posted.

Real estate

Despite its highs and lows, real estate has always been a profitable industry to invest in. As someone looking to get involved in the profession, the simplest and most direct way to accrue profits in this regard is by purchasing property in a reputed spot and renting it out to tenants at profitable rates. While this isn’t advisable as a full-time employment service, and definitely contains its fair share of risks, it is a smart way to make money without falling slave to the typical nine to five system.

Handmade craft sales

People love filling their houses with hand-made goodies, be it clothes, accessories, paintings, or carved structures. Keeping a specific target audience in mind, people with a hand for creating innovative crafts can look to sell it at reasonable rates to the same, ensuring that they practise a profession where they can make money out of something they enjoy making.

Tech support specialist

When our computers and other digital devices start causing us trouble, our first thought is to call the ‘fixers’, who can efficiently fix up these devices and return them to us as brand new. These are the tech support specialists who usually sit at hardware stores and travel to different locations upon the call of their clients.

Public relations specialist

PR is one of the vital components of any company, and the demand for PR specialists is thus always on the rise. While many companies employ their own PR team, many outsource the work onto an independent PR specialist, especially right before the launch of a new product or service, or big event hosted by the company, in order to popularise and promote it among the right audience.

Programmers

While programmers are especially vital for tech-companies, their presence is required in almost all industries and sectors. A programmer’s work lies in coding, construction, and deconstruction, and is thus executed almost entirely on the computer. Hence, the general idea that programmers can sit anywhere and everywhere and begin coding isn’t quite so far-fetched when looked at in this aspect.

Stand-up comedy

The road to becoming a critically acclaimed stand-up comedian may have its fair share of challenges, but it one of the most interesting and fast-rising professions today. Some of the greatest stand-up comedians are the ones who grew disillusioned with their standard nine to five jobs and quit the office-life to follow their passions.

Audit manager

Audit managers are responsible for looking into the financial and operational audits for companies or clients. These include profiles like that of financial analysts, fiscal officers, and financial consultants, who are required to teams into planning and executing internal audits. Part of their profile also includes working with the stakeholders of the company or client, to understand the possible outcomes of the audits and implement future policies around it.

Consultant

This is a great line for those leaving behind a rigidly fixed-hour office life in favour of a more flexible schedule where they can work remotely as well. Provided you have commendable experience in your field of interest, you can then build up your brand value and procure clients online or through word-of-mouth, holding sessions either virtually or physically at a place and time of your choosing.

While any of these jobs can be done within the designated walls of an office-space, they also offer a measure of flexibility and freedom in your everyday professional sphere. Working remotely, with a team or commuting through the day for work purposes, guarantees a promise of the much-needed breathing space which you often don’t get in an office environment.

At the end of the day, working outside of an office-space takes mountains’ worth of discipline and commitment. For those believing it is an easier option out, you couldn’t be more wrong because eventually the work that you have to show for yourself is completely on you. And it’s up to you to make sure it’s a game-changer.

As Stephen R Covey once said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

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