One of the great appeals of working at home is the idea that you can work from anywhere. That’s the hope for many people. Yet many work at home job listings include a location. Does that location really matter?
For some work at home jobs, yes, it does. Why is that?
Some work at home jobs have training done in office. These jobs will expect you to live close enough to come into the office for training. They won’t pay for your travel to training, and they won’t let you take on the expense of staying close enough for training. Considering that training can be a few weeks or even a few months, that cost would be prohibitive for many positions.
Not all employers are satisfied with the many ways to keep in contact virtually. They want face to face time with employees at regular staff meetings, and they don’t want to pay you to travel to them. It doesn’t matter if the meetings are once a week or once a year – they want you to live close enough to drive there and back on the same day.
If your job involves dealing with clients in person, it makes a lot of sense for you to live close enough that this is a simple matter. If your job involves working with clients, sometimes face to face interactions are preferred or even necessary.
Sometimes the job will require enough travel that your employer will want you to live in a particular region. You might have an area to cover for client support or sales, for example. They might also want you to live near an airport hub to make it easier to travel to other areas for work.
Taxes are one of the big reasons employers want their employees to live in an area. Sales taxes may be affected by where employees live. It can also be more difficult for employers to handle income taxes for multiple regions.
Some jobs require that you be licensed in a particular state for the job. Teachers, for example, generally need a teaching license for their state. Nurses and other health care providers also need licenses.
While VOIP makes it easy to have your phone number match whatever area code your employer needs, that’s not how all employers conduct business. Many prefer a hard wired, dedicated phone line. VOIP can have sound quality issues as well as security issues, and employers may find it easier to avoid those issues by insisting upon traditional, hard wired phone lines. They will probably also insist upon a wired telephone headset. Anything wireless has potential security issues.
Having their employees all in the same time zone makes things easier for employers. While they can tell you that work hours are in a particular time zone, having everyone in the same time zone ensures that no one gets confused about what the right time is.
Some work at home employers provide equipment to their employees and handle technical support and repairs as well. If they don’t want to deal with the down time of having broken equipment shipped out and new sent to the employee, they need you to live close enough that they can send someone out to repair equipment when you have a problem.
Various job duties will be better handled by being in the right location. A teacher may need to see students face to face periodically. A client may need some work done on site. You may need to meet with an employee that you supervise.
Some work at home jobs want you to know the area, and that’s simplest if you already live there. Some writing jobs, for example, want you to cover local events. A service in a particular area may want someone who knows the local region.
Does This Mean You Can’t Move And Keep Your Job?
If your employer specifies a particular location for a job and you later need to move to another area, you will need to check with that employer to see what can be done. For many location specific work at home jobs, moving out of that area means finding a new job just as you would have to seek work if you worked in a brick and mortar location.
If you’re lucky, you’ll move into another area they can allow you to work at, in which case you could continue with your job in a new location. It never hurts to check to see if there’s any way to keep your job before moving.
Why Are Locations Listed For Jobs That Don’t Care Where You Live?
Some employers will list a location on their work at home jobs, but won’t actually care where you live. Often, it’s where their office is. Even when a job listing shows a location at the top, read the entire listing carefully to see if it matters. If it’s unclear, you can always ask.
If a potential employer is clear that they’re only hiring people in certain areas, and you are not in that area or about to move there, don’t push them about it. They usually have good reasons to hire in the areas they specify. They aren’t likely to change their mind just for you, no matter how great your skills. They can probably find someone just as good who meets their location requirements.
Many employers won’t say in a job listing why they’re only hiring in a particular area unless it’s for training or travel purposes. Even if you can’t tell why they only hire in one area, respect that when you’re applying for work. If you move later and might not be in an area they usually have employees, that’s a good time to find out if the rule has any flexibility.