The Brainy Expat: Working abroad from home – Is it for you?

The Brainy Expat: Working abroad from home – is it for you?

Comments10 comments

The idea of working from home can be both exciting and frightening, depending on your assessment of the pros and cons. Here are 10 top jobs to work from home.

There are many reasons why an expat would decide to start working from home while living abroad. Maybe they are a non-working spouse who wants to help the family by bringing a complementary salary to the table, or maybe they are a parent who is now ready to get back in the market. Another possibility is that the person already has a job, and their company has decided to have them working from home.

Most people know someone who knows someone who decided to quit their job and work from home. The end of their stories may not always be happy, but in today’s world there is also a good chance that this could be the best decision you have ever made.

Benefits of working from home

As almost anything in life, there are several benefits of working from home but also some challenges that one needs to be aware of. The business company Forbes published the results of a survey where people were asked what the main benefits of working from home were. According to the survey, the top five benefits mentioned were:

  1. Work/home balance
  2. Save gas
  3. Avoid traffic
  4. More productivity
  5. Less distractions

It is easy to understand why working from home has become so popular. The freedom of choosing your working hours, combined with the possibility of being able to be there for your family (or for yourself), plus the opportunity of saving some money are all good reasons for such a decision.

It is difficult for some people in management to trust an employee who is working from home, because the physical presence of the employee in the office brings an idea of control. Their logic is, if I can’t see my employee, I can’t trust them. Luckily this old-fashioned concept is shifting to a more modern idea of clearer goal setting and more efficient ways to check for achievement that don’t require the employee to be physically in the office at all times.

Challenges of working from home

Understandably, many people have concerns about working from home and find it challenging to make the transition. These people argue that there are quite a lot of downsides and prefer the 'security' of a cubicle at the company’s office.

Some of the concerns mentioned are:

  • time management and productivity;
  • personal finances, health insurance, school tuition, etc.;
  • working too much and not being able to take any vacation or time off;
  • feeling isolated, and not being able to share or collaborate with a colleague.

Top 10 job opportunities for working from home

Still for many, quite a few of the job opportunities for working from home resolve most of the concerns listed above, as well as give the person the freedom they’ve likely always wanted. The job list below is an attempt to demonstrate this principle.

Here is a compilation of 10 of the most interesting job opportunities to work from home, some of which you may not know about.

1) Virtual assistant (VA)
This is a relative new job that grew exponentially together with the increase of online businesses. VAs are responsible for several different activities and thus may have various levels of responsibilities. From a simple receptionist to a business manager, from an administrative assistant to a marketing director, VAs are becoming more and more popular these days.

2) Freelance writer
The internet has opened up many opportunities in the field of copywriting. Many bloggers outsource their writing to online writers (so called ghost writing) and pay a considerable amount of money for it. As an author, you can also work from home on your book and use the many online services to help you publish it.

3) Freelance translator
Just as with writers, the need for translators has increase exponentially in the past five years. Translators are needed not only for legal matters, but also for articles in magazines and newspapers, finances and banking and even games.

4) Online tutor
Surprisingly, many teachers are leaving the classroom to become online tutors. The possibility of helping students online is attractive because it allows the teacher to work their own hours and scale thus getting a higher compensation.

5) Online nurse practitioner
This is one of the fastest increasing careers in healthcare. When working online, a registered nurse might work with telephone triage for insurance companies, or answer questions via telephone for health call centres.

6) Software project manager
These are specialised professionals who are responsible for the management of projects in the software industry. Some of the responsibilities of the project manager are managing communication, budget, schedule, suppliers, etc.

7) Customer service manager
This professional is responsible for the happiness of the customer, and the tasks vary according to the needs of the company. Typically, a customer service manager is responsible for providing support and advice to customers, dealing with customer complaints, liaising with the sales technical department on behalf of the customer, managing refunds when necessary, and so on.

8) Video marketer
Video marketing services have many different aspects that can be explored by people who decide to work from home. Videos are one of the best ways to market a service or a product, because they bring a more personal approach to the business. This is one if the best opportunities if you are a video expert.

9) Web designer
The web designer professional is ultimately responsible for maintaining a website through graphic design, programming, search engine optimisation, copy writing, etc.

10) Smart phones’ app designer
A recent development in the online business world is in the field of designing applications for smartphones. Professionals in this area may also be responsible for the creation, development, fine tuning and even marketing of the smartphone apps.

A question for you

So now it’s your turn. The Brainy Expat wants to know from you: if you could work at home, what kind of job would you go for? What wage or salary range would you be willing to work for? Leave your comments below and contribute to the discussion.


Reprinted with permission from The Brainy Expat.

The brainy expat Alexandre Raymundo is an expat living and working in Belgium. He has a full-time job as an international educator, and started a blog in February 2014 called The Brainy Expat, where he provides tips for fellow expats and travellers. You can contact him on Twitter and also on Facebook.


Expat Fair for Internationals Whether you’ve lived here for days, months or years, you won’t regret attending the Expat Fair for Internationals. Sunday 7 October 2018, Amsterdam.

Get your FREE tickets and discover more about expat life in the Netherlands. 

Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here.

If you believe any of the information on this page is incorrect or out-of-date, please let us know. Expatica makes every effort to ensure its articles are as comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date as possible, but we're also grateful for any help! (If you want to contact Expatica for any other reason, please follow the instructions on this website's contact page.)

Captcha Note: Characters are case sensitive
The details you provide on this page will not be used to send any unsolicited e-mail, and will not be sold to a third party. Privacy policy .

3 Comments To This Article

  • MadRebel posted:

    on 4th June 2015, 23:58:47 - Reply

    I have been interested in working at home for so long. I no longer work at all (semi-retired) and have nothing but time on my hands. I would be interested in working as a Virtual Assistant or as Freelance Translator (Dutch -> Englilsh). How would one go about finding something like that? I've been trying now for a very long time, and when I would find what i thought was an interesting position and make contact with the potential employer, it was always stuffing envelopes, making cold calls and stuff like that. If anyone could point me in the right direction or give a few pointers it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks all in advance.

  • Jeniffer posted:

    on 3rd June 2015, 14:13:35 - Reply

    I am working from home in the fast growing field of instructional design. I provide two organizations in the US with course design and editing services and I charge 75 USD per hour.
  • chris posted:

    on 3rd June 2015, 18:03:55 - Reply

    I am a writer. I have worked from home for many years. You forgot to mention loneliness. It's bad enough in an English-speaking community filled with people you know, but it is a hundred times worse in a foreign country.
    Going out to work is a natural place to begin making friends, but working from home - frequently 'with' people you never see - cuts you off.
    No, I'm not whingeing. My life is not terrible, but I felt that the tiny mention of 'challenges' in this article was crying out to be challenged. :)