It’s Time to Kick This Notion About Remote Work
Guest Post by: Audrey Fairbrother, Marketing Manger, Boldly
UPS must be happy. There’s a box traveling the United States, starting from Colorado, to California, and on to Texas. It keeps moving every few weeks and each time it arrives and the box opens a new story gets told. In the box is a video camera, lights, a microphone.
“I thought it was too good to be true.”
“My first thought when I found this was, hmm, this sounds too good to be true.”
“Honestly, it sounded too good to be true. I was even skeptical until I met my first client.”
“My husband made me really research this, he thought it sounded too good to be true.”
No doubt you’ve heard the saying, “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is”. The optimist in me can’t stand this type of negativity.
Remote Work. Too Good to Be True?
I vote we change it to something that is more applicable in every situation. “If something sounds too good to be true, do your research.”
These quotes above are from my team at Boldly.com. They came out naturally as part of a video project we’ve been doing this fall. We asked team members what their personal stories are for seeking remote and flexible work, and how it has changed their lives.
While we were expecting to hear some of the same sentiments. Things like better work-life balance, more time with family, etc. We were shocked to hear the same 5 words repeated by every single team member we interviewed. “Remote work is too good to be true.” Thankfully, they researched further and discovered our team was for real. If they hadn’t we would have missed out on decades of valuable experience from these team members.
It was an eye-opening moment for my management team. Not only for our own purpose in marketing our positions, but in just how unique our offering must sound to people. No, we aren’t making outlandish promises to anyone who applies to work with us. We’re NOT promising you’ll “get rich quick.” All we promise is that you can work remotely on your own terms, with a flexible schedule, and support great companies.
A Society of Skeptics
Why are people so skeptical of a great work situation in today’s society?
When I started really looking into this question, I was perplexed. The number of jobs available that are flexible and remote are really on the up and up – there are thousands of fabulous and reputable companies who want to offer the same autonomy to their employees as we do. Why are people still so skittish?
Well, they actually have a good reason.
Job scams are a widespread problem in the work-from-home arena. It is estimated that for every one legitimate remote job, there are approximately 60-70 job scams. Yikes.
It’s an uphill battle for today’s legitimate remote companies. The explosion of multi-level marketing companies (MLMs), along with endless “work at home” scams, and low-paying freelance offerings have made the search arduous for those looking for legitimate, traditional employment options that are remote. Finding legitimate remote work can feel like sorting through a landfill, looking for a lost diamond ring.
But let’s plow through that garbage, shall we? Here are some ways you can avoid the scammers, and find the “too good to be true” of your dreams:
Trust Your Gut
If someone reaches out to you, be especially wary
Today’s best legitimate remote work opportunities are in high demand (Boldly.com received 32,000 direct applications last year alone). So, it’s rare that a company will reach out to you directly via social media or email asking for you, specifically, to interview for a job you haven’t even inquired about. If you receive this type of message, be extra wary.
It never hurts to send an email to the company (via an email address found on the legitimate website) to confirm they reached out for an interview. Virtual companies know scammers and fraudsters are a real threat to candidates, and odds are they’ll appreciate your vigilance.
Do not give ANY personal information up front, and use reputable sites
If you’re asked for identity information (address, social security number, birthday, etc.) or bank details straight away, before a formal (preferably video) interview has taken place, we highly suggest you stop engaging and be ready to report the person who is contacting you as fraudulent.
You can also try looking at reputable job sites in your particular niche. It’s great to do research not only on the company you are applying for but also the outlet in which you are doing your search to make sure jobs are verified as legitimate.
Like Your Teacher Always Said, Grammar Matters
If someone doesn’t use appropriate language or grammar or uses common phrases in odd ways, do some further research
If you’re interviewing for a remote position, it’s unlikely that the company representative will deny you a phone, or better, a video interview. It’s always in your best interest to speak with someone directly before providing any personal details. If the representative seems particularly pushy about keeping the conversation to email, chat, or text, that’s another red flag. And along the same lines, if the representative has numerous typos, incorrect or inconsistent grammar, or uses odd phrases out of context, it could be a sign of a scam.
When in Doubt, Just Reach Out
Intuition can be your best defense against online remote job scams. If anything strikes you as fishy, off, or just a bit odd, it’s worth the time to reach out to the number or email address listed on a legitimate company website and inquire about your experience with a company representative.
As remote work continues to grow, the market for scammers will only continue to evolve and increase. The best way to protect yourself is to educate yourself, do your research (hopefully reading this article will help!) and follow your instincts.
Now For Some Good News!
There’s a long list of reasons why remote and flexible work opportunities are actually not ‘too good to be true’ for both employee and employer.
For companies, there are obvious savings to overhead, and on both sides, there is a great benefit to lowering environmental impact by eliminating commutes and using fewer nonrenewable resources. However, the most important reason these positions make so much sense is hard to put a price tag on:
Happy People = Happy Businesses
When employees are happy with their work situation, it’s great for the whole business.
Why? A million reasons. But here are just a few:
- Job satisfaction means increased productivity
- When employees have more time to focus on friends, family, and hobbies, they are more well-rounded, and better focused at work
- When employees can choose their most productive times to work, less time is wasted and things become more efficient
The case is compelling for sure, and fortunately, at an increasing number of companies, these positions are a reality — and definitely not too good to be true.
Score one for my team in the fight to update that old saying.
Meet the Author
Audrey Fairbrother is the Marketing Manager for Boldly.com a remote staffing company connecting demanding founders and executives with highly skilled, meticulously matched remote talent. Connect with Audrey on LinkedIn.