25. March 2010, 01:37 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

A friend recently asked me my opinion of doing tech support for a web host through remote access (also known as telecommuting). It can be a good job so long as it is done in a proper manner and with a few things in mind.

The first thing to consider is how comfortable you are working alone, with no assistance nearby or other coworkers around. While you may occasionally be in telephone contact with your employer, for most of the time you are *IT*. The second thing to look at is that you read the contract from start to finish and understand what you are signing. If you have questions, or don't understand something, ask for clarification or ask your own attorney. You should make sure that the contract explicitly sets out how many hours per week, and what shift per day, so that you don't end up effectively being “on call” 24/7. Also, if you will need time off, negotiate ahead of time for it. Many telecommuting contract workers do not get vacation time, or are not paid for the time they do get.

To work tech support, remotely or on site, requires patience — sometimes vast amounts of patience. No matter how ignorant, or difficult a customer is, you must consider the company first. That's not to say abusive customers must be continually tolerated, but a “thick skin” goes a long way to lowering stress levels. You have to treat the experience as a real job. While you won’t have the separation of home and work that comes with traveling to an office each day, you must be able to combine the two responsibly, while keeping them from affecting each other. One way to help in this is, if possible, to have an area set aside in your home used solely for work.

From a more materiel perspective the first thing is to have a decent amount of desk space and a comfortable chair. You're going to spend lots of time in it and there can be nothing worse than an uncomfortable chair. If you can, look into getting a computer and keeping it just for work related use. This protects you from the work network and the work network from you. Also consider multiple displays. You will often find the need to work at or monitor several things at once and the extra display(s) can make it a great deal easier and more efficient. From a skills direction, adding to them on a continuing basis will increase your ability to perform well and vastly aid in your advancement whether it be learning a new programming or scripting language, software package, or web site or graphical design.

Last but not least, when tax time rolls around you may find that filling out those forms just became very complicated, moreso if your employment crosses national borders. Find someone competent who can help with your taxes and that understands what your job is all about.

This sort of work can be very rewarding, both in terms of experience and income, and if you have the qualifications well worth investigating.

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Keywords: web hosting,telecommute,tech support



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