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Homeshoring has become much more than a buzz word for
thousands of work at home moms, rural workers, veterans and other home-based
job applicants across the U.S. Hundreds of companies have returned their call
centers home to remote workers and in turn, have created new opportunities
for thousands of Americans hoping to work from home.
Imagine a commute that is just down the hallway, a few
minutes from your favorite gourmet coffeepot and the Monday morning news. You
plug in your headset to the phone, boot your computer, and begin taking calls
for your client. After 30 minutes of call time, you move on to a scheduled
break to tend to a few errands around the house. You get another cup of coffee,
finish a few small household tasks, and return to your desk to begin taking calls
again. Your schedule is flexible, and you can have all the breaks you need from
the comfort of your own home. Youre paid anywhere from $7.00 to $30.00 an
hour, and you work not just the hours but the minutes that you choose.
Sound like another work from home scam? Or simply too good
to be true? Think again. The rise of homeshoring employers has paved the way to
legitimate work-from-home careers that allow flexibility for a whole new
workforce including work at home moms and dads, caretakers, military spouses,
people with unique medical needs and the differently abled.
So, what is homeshoring, exactly?
Homeshoring, in its simplest form, is the use of home-based
employees by businesses, big and small, to handle their call center functions
effectively with the use of home-based workers. Homeshoring companies have made
the decision to keep their call centers virtual but within their own
parameters, country and control.
Homeshoring moves jobs out of high-overhead call centers and
into the homes of US workers, rather than out of the country. Homeshoring cuts costs, but not corners, when
it comes to saving money and creating valuable contacts with customers.
So who hires home-based workers for their call centers?
Homeshoring companies range from outsourcing partners (such
as Convergys and LiveOps) to large corporations looking to save operating costs
for their call center components. Companies such as JetBlue send their workers
home and have an added benefit when weather problems force call overflows
they can call on their home-based workers to pick up the slack. Other companies
outsource their calls to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO’s) firms such as Alpine
Access or LiveOps. Office Depot and Virginia Atlantic outsource their customer
service needs to virtual agent call-center firms, which are often small or
midsize businesses. The call centers then hire home-based workers or create
independent contractor agreements. Some virtual call centers only hire
home-based contractors with their own business set-up, so that their workers
can operate under their own small corporations or LLC’s.
Homeshoring also provides a flexible and adjustable
workforce for companies that often are sent into chaos with call overflow. The
flexibility work for employees, too. Often, a homeshoring agent can schedule
work shifts in time periods as short as 15 minutes.
According to the Gartner group, 10% of all call centers in
the US plan on
employing home-based agents in the near future. There are currently 112,000
home-based agents in the U.S.,
according to IDC. By 2010, there 330,000 home-based workers are expected to be
working in the US
alone. Homeshoring is here to stay and is expected to become a standard
practice for companies that need to find new ways to retain excellent employees
at a fraction of the cost of maintaining a brick and mortar call center.
A search online can uncover dozens of companies that hire
homeshoring workers, but the top homeshoring (and most competitive) employers
are listed below: