Most of us roll our eyes at "work from home" ads. The internet is overflowing with so-called freelance opportunities, and most of them are digital sweatshops or even outright scams.
Sure, it would be great to set up an office on your couch, wear a bathrobe to work, and take a break whenever you want. But if these jobs are really so great, why isn't everybody cashing in?
One company regularly offers a legitimate gig: Amazon.com. The online retail giant requires thousands of seasonal workers, especially over the holidays, to fulfill orders and provide customer service – from the comfort of their own living rooms.
Amazon describes the Work from Home Customer Service Associate as someone who "will think outside the box, solve problems, answer questions, and resolve concerns presented by our Amazon customers. Our customers contact us primarily by phone & chat [sic] and we hope you can help us deliver customer obsessed results!"
The world's largest electronic commerce company has long experimented with remote contractors: They have been hiring ad hoc delivery drivers for a couple years now, among countless other types of virtual labor. (Note: We'll get into the delivery driver position in-depth later.)
There are many benefits to doing this kind of work, including paid training. But it's also challenging, and working for a retail behemoth isn't for everyone. If you're looking for some extra cash, here's the lowdown on Amazon's move toward remote labor.
Customer service positions
One of the most popular work-from-home positions with Amazon is customer service. Working a customer service position does require discipline, a high school diploma, and at least one year of customer service experience.
Part of the reason only certain residents can apply is because paperwork has to be filled out in person at an Amazon office. Obviously, you must be legally permitted to work in the United States.
You also need a dependable computer and internet connection. Your entire job will depend on how well you can navigate browsers, email and instant messenger services. Don't worry about a headset or special equipment, though; Amazon will ship that to you. (They're good at that.)
Here are some minimum specs needed on your computer:
- 64-bit Operating System
- 10 mg download speed or faster (10 mbps download and 5 mbps upload) from a reliable provider
- Must be directly connected to router/modem via Ethernet cable (no satellite or wireless internet)
- If you are using a laptop, it must be connected to an external monitor, keyboard and mouse
- Windows 8.1, Windows 10, or OSX 10.9 or higher
- Windows Defender