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“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

When Confucius said that, it was 551-479 BC and transportation costs were probably the last thing on his mind.

In the pursuit of finding the perfect job, the length of the commute or your ability to pick up and move can be a real barrier. While it’s possible to learn new skills to grow your career, you can’t always move yourself or your whole family across the country or around the world. Advanced internet conferencing technology as well as tools like Skype and HipChat are making it easier than ever to work from home and, as an overall trend, telecommuting is on the rise.

A study done by Global Workplace Analytics reported that, for workers that are not self-employed, telecommuting increased by approximately 103% from 2005 to 2014. Two years down the line, the trend continues. According to a recent telecommuting research study done by PGi, a multinational corporation that provides conferencing and collaborating solutions, up to 79% of respondents telecommuted at least one day per week.

What are the benefits of telecommuting?

  • Cost Effective – This goes for both parties. Not only do employees benefit from saving on all the travel costs but employers also save money. Work Flexibility, an online portal for work-life balance activists estimated that for each employee who telecommutes, the company saves about $11,000 annually.
  • Increased Productivity – From water cooler gossip to impromptu meetings, we’ve all been interrupted by a coworker right when we were in the “zone.” Working from home can give employees the ability to concentrate and get more done. A survey done by Correct Solutions shows that 77% of telecommuters reported greater productivity.
  • More Opportunities – From providing access to disabled workers to limiting geographical boundaries to employers, telecommuting offers socioeconomic, geographic and cultural diversity.

There are a few key skills every potential telecommuter needs in order to master the art.

We’ve listed five essential work from home skills below and paired them with online courses to help you have a successful and rewarding work from home experience.

1. Marketing Skills

If you’re a multi-talented person, chances are you’ll have many pursuits. You might be taking excel online courses, or simply brushing up your accounting skills. You could be doing social media for a startup during the day and then teaching a class on digital marketing in the evening. How do you market yourself, your vision and your product? Learn essential marketing skills to elevate yourself as a brand, your clients or projects in this digital age.

2. Communication Skills

Using Google Hangouts or Skype is great, but what do you say once you connect and how do you give great presentations? Refine your communication skills and learn how to deliver impactful presentations.

3. Leadership Skills

Good leadership skills are important no matter what your work setting. From a freelancer working from home, a manager of a small team or a leader of one, your ability to inspire others and make them engage with your vision, company or product is important.

4. Technical Skills

Know your way around a computer including how to set it up, install software and use basic business software. Knowledge of basic web programming is always a plus. Let your employer know that you can work effectively and well without an IT department by your side.

5. Professional Skills

From understanding the ins and outs of spreadsheets to writing compelling prose, a set range of professional skills will certainly help you get set up for success whether you work from home or the office.

So go, design your career today !

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