The Coronavirus and Work – How You Can Earn an Income During Quarantine

In just a manner of weeks, our entire daily routines have changed, from leaving for work in the morning to plugging our phones in at night. At this time, 17 states have already started or announced official start dates within the next few days for all non-essential workers to remain at home. Up until a few weeks ago, we saw the effects of COVID-19 on the stock market, but now people are worried about the impact on their bank accounts.  

As millions of Americans must stay home from work without any promise of income or financial relief, there are clear challenges ahead. But, the same technology used to feed into the panic, can be used for good too. Because of our modern times, internet access, and readily available technology, you can help earn an income or supplement your income from your home.

How Long Can This Quarantine Last?

Unlike calling off sick for a few days, some states are setting out their stay-at-home orders to last until May 15th or leaving the order open-ended. What we’ve seen in other countries is the bulk of Italy’s workforce unable to leave their homes for at least two weeks. That plan in Italy does not currently have a relief date, which means more time without an income.  

China took about two months to resume a bit of normalcy, with some people still on shut-in orders and unable to work. Now, based on information from the most impacted countries, experts are reporting that they encourage current social distancing measures to remain in effect for months. 

The quarantine, of course, brings about clear concerns for physical health, mental health, and financial stability. People depend on their jobs, and recent studies show that 87% of millennials rank job security as their top priority. Now in uncertain times, workers need to take the reins because we don’t know how long we could be working from home or without access to your current job.  

In the two weeks of the initial social distancing and beginning measures for stay-at-home orders, there seem to be a few ways employers are taking action. Essential workers are keeping minimum employees to keep the wheels turning, which means decreasing hours across the board. For non-essential businesses, employees are looking at either working remotely, experiencing a temporary furlough, or outright termination. Each of these options still comes with the same opportunity: the chance to earn an income at home.

Working from Home with Your Current Employer

Some companies such as Amazon, Google, and Apple were likely prepared to make this shift. However, many smaller companies, such as private contractors that provide electrical or plumbing services, are transitioning their administrative staff to work from home.  

If your employer is open to keeping your position open through remote work, then you’re in a pretty good position. You have security with your employer and can keep earning your income. But, while we’re all trying to help flatten the curve for COVID-19, there’s a pretty steep learning curve for remote work. 

First, ensure that you’re compliant with all of your company’s and industry’s security requirements. Healthcare and finance industries both call for extreme security measures in how you store and transmit data.  You might need to get additional help from your IT department to ensure that you can use your home computer and network.  

Second, only use a reliable internet connection. There are few things worse than your work going to waste because of a bad internet connection. Set your documents or spreadsheets to autosave often just in case your connection drops.

Next, put the right communication tools in place. Even companies that were ready to launch remote work measures right away might not have planned for all the tools that the staff need to communicate. Consider apps like Slack, Zoom, Asana, or even Trello.  These tools usually have free plans and can help keep the lines of communication open and out of your inbox. These apps and many others are also a great way to stay connected!

Finally, think about your work-from-home environment. While some may set up shop in their child’s room, others can step away and work in a home office or even at the kitchen table. Just make sure to keep control of where and how you work so you can stay productive. 

Cultivate a Supplementary Income with a Remote Work Side-Hustle 

For those who have lost hours or were furloughed, you might kickstart a side-hustle. These jobs are often something that people can manage, along with their 40 hours a week in a normal situation. 

It does take a little effort, but many people can start earning an income within days, which can be a massive relief for those impacted by the new stay-at-home orders.  You can even make money right from your iPhone or Android device, meaning that you don’t need a home office to get started. 

So who can start earning a supplementary income, and where should you start? As with most things, start with what you know. If you’re looking at side hustles, think of jobs that would be easy for you to do because you have the skillset or because you simply enjoy the task! 

What Side Hustles Can You Start Within Your Industry?

Many options are available across countless professions. Teachers can find work online and earn extra income teaching or tutoring online. Services such as VIPkid are legitimate work-from-home options for teachers and those who aspire to be teachers. The requirements often don’t list the state-required certifications or credentials because these teachers are working in schools around the world or are tutors.

It’s surprising, but there are many positions for remote work within the healthcare, tech, and finance industries. Nurses can apply to work as call-in triage specialists through healthcare providers or networks and work for large advice lines. It’s an excellent option for healthcare workers who are in a position where they can’t return to work at the moment.

Tech support technicians can often find jobs quickly as can bookkeepers, data entry specialists, data analysts, and anyone who typically works in an administrative position. 

There are a ton of micro-jobs that allow you to control when and how often you work. These opportunities make it possible for many parents who are at home to maintain their children’s schedules and their household while still earning an income. 

Starting a Side Hustle Based on a Hobby

Anything that you do for fun is a chance to earn a supplemental income. Are you an aspiring writer or blogger? On top of job boards, writers can use websites like Submittable to enter contests or present work to editors accepting submissions.  

Photographers can make a fair amount as a side hustle on their hobby by selling their photos to stock photo websites. Considering that every blog, article, news announcement, and online product needs at least one image, there’s a lot of opportunities here!  

Many crafters view the long hours stuck at home as a chance to open an Etsy store, or a similar situation to sell their different crafts. If you can sew, crochet, knit, design graphics, or virtually any type of creative crafting, then you can undoubtedly start selling your creations online!  

Working from Home Full-Time 

The biggest jump here, you’re not looking to make some extra money or to alter your work environment with your current position. Going into working from home full-time is a huge transition, but for many people right now, it’s the only chance to keep the bills paid and pantry stocked. With numerous online resources and opportunities, it’s possible to find a new job, even if it’s temporary.

So what can people do from home full time? This is a very short list compared to all the possibilities available:

  • Customer service representative
  • Data entry
  • Copywriting
  • Sales reps
  • Virtual assistants
  • Teaching or tutoring
  • Programming – through private employment or by developing software and apps
  • Building websites
  • Recruiting or Human Resources 
  • Graphic design
  • Accounting or bookkeeping
  • Appointment setting or booking for hotels and travel chains

The list can keep going as many companies prepare to hire remote workers in response to this enormous change in workplaces. The disruption of COVID-19 on nearly every company in America is resulting in a massive movement toward remote work, and this falls in line with what other countries have done.

This global change could be an opportunity disguised in fear and anxiety. Take the chance to look for a new job that you can love and do from your home. To start your job search, layout what you would enjoy doing and how your current work experience and qualifications apply. Then review what you could do to show your skill set and be a desirable candidate. You might be surprised at how a few years of experience or prior work with specific software can set you apart from other job candidates.  

Finally, keep in mind that it is the same as competing for any other job. A work-from-home job opportunity goes through much of the same recruitment process, and the only concern might be making sure that the job opportunity is legitimate. Remote work can be extremely rewarding and change your perspective on work-life balance. No matter what your experience level or work history, you can find a work-from-home job to help maintain your household’s financial stability during this time of crisis.