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The Kenyan job market has drastically changed over the last decade!

Career paths that were previously considered obvious choices are not this generation’s cup of tea.

Contrary to public belief, online work is more than just copywriting. It extends to customer service, graphic design and proofreading.

Despite their growing popularity, there are plenty of misconceptions to demystify;

For starters, not all online employees are in the same position.

You can either be an employee of an online company and work remotely or a freelancer who works with different companies on various projects.

Both options offer a certain level of flexibility but undoubtedly require a strong sense of personal responsibility.

There are two sides to these misconceptions. Some are overly positive, while others are overly negative, depending on who you talk to.

Let’s dig into a few more!

1. Kazi ni Freestyle

There’s some truth to this, as you are responsible for when you work and how much you work.

That being said, your income will reflect your efforts.

Unlike a 9 to 5 where you can get away with a few wasted minutes, in an online job, your pay is tied to your output and/or the number of hours you put in.

Consistency is the only way to win.

You don’t need to work from 9 to 5. Simply calculate how many hours a week you need to work to make a decent income and stick with it. The average workweek is 36 hours.

Also, consider that benefits in a traditional job like paid annual leave or sick leave don’t apply. Plan for your income beforehand when you decide to take time off.

If you plan well, you can take full advantage of the flexible workday. Learn how to create a regular work from home routine.

2. Hakuna Timetable

While it’s true that an online job gives you the flexibility to work at your own time, it still doesn’t mean that you can completely ignore the rules of the workday.

You’re still working for someone else, so deadlines are important. There are also schedules to keep track of as well as meetings.

However, there are also plenty of advantages to a flexible workday.

One big advantage is the flexibility to meet personal and family needs. Because you own your time, you don’t have to fill out paperwork to take sick days or time off to run errands during the workday.

Another advantage is that you save time and money on commuting. Nobody enjoys sitting in traffic to and from work, and with working online, especially from home, that will be a distant memory.

Another advantage is you can combine work and travel! There are plenty of online workers who work as they travel the world. 

3. Si Kazi Real

This is the most common misconception about working online. Due to some negative perceptions on the internet, online work is placed in the same category as online scams, pyramid schemes and other illicit activities.

This is far from the truth, as there are amazing career opportunities online, as well as jobs with reliable income that offer learning opportunities and growth.

That said, you do need to be careful as you apply for online jobs to make sure you are not being scammed.

A sure way to get started is to apply through already established online work platforms.

Once you get an online job with a reputable company, your work is as legitimate as any other.

4. Pyjamas ndio Uniform

It’s tempting to work in your pyjamas all day, or even work from bed because you are working from home.

This won’t work as well, as your productivity will not be as high as it should be if your mind is not in work mode.

Create a boundary between leisure and work by taking a shower and changing out of your pyjamas.

Also, strive to have a designated home office. A home office does not need to be fancy. A table and chair in the corner of a room are more than enough.

This will not only increase your productivity but also keep you more organised.

5. Hakuna Stress

Deadlines and the stress that comes with them don’t disappear just because you’re working from home.

There’s also the challenge of finding new clients, especially if you’re a freelancer.

Worrying where the next client will come from and if you’ll have enough work can be a source of stress.

To counter this, use a calendar app such as Google calendar to help you track your progress with your assignments and any deadlines.

Also, join a platform that posts reliable work so that you can focus more on delivering high-quality work and less on scouring the internet looking for clients.

6. Sitakuwa Productive

It’s tempting to watch TV or scroll social media all day when you work from home.

It’s even more tempting to sleep all day!

Working from home requires good time management skills and self-discipline.

The biggest distractions, however, come in the form of people. This is especially true if you have kids. They will see you at home and demand your attention.

Friends and relatives may also assume that because you’re home all the time, you’re really not working, and come by for long visits during your work hours.

Getting other people to respect your work time is your responsibility.

You’ll need to let everyone know what your work hours are and to kindly respect them, the same way you respect theirs. 

7. Kazi ni 24/7

If you’re not in control of your time management, it’s easy to find yourself constantly working with little output. If you’re easily distracted, you’ll spend eight hours on a task that should have been done in two hours.

The best time management is training yourself to become more efficient.

Start by noting which hours you are more productive and work on the biggest tasks of the day then.

Another good strategy is to work in cycles of at least two hours with 15-minute breaks. This will help you create a work rhythm to help you get the most out of your workday.

This will mean you spend less time on tasks but are more productive.

8. Hakuna Support

In as much as it can be one of the things to complain about, having a boss and colleagues is positive for your work life.

It’s still possible, however, to form meaningful relationships with your coworkers online and learn from your clients and/or boss, even if you are in different countries or continents.

The online space has made it possible to be friends with people from places we’ve never been. These friendships can teach us new perspectives that can inspire us to try things we never thought of.

There are pros and cons to having an online career. Either way, it’s clear that this way of working is here to stay.

Organizations are able to hire a workforce from all over the world and increase productivity. Even organizations in Kenya are able to hire people from different counties without having to relocate them.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

If you’re interested in working online, do your research and grow your skills to make you a more desirable candidate for better quality and better-paying work. 

So what are you waiting for? An exciting online career awaits you!

Photo by rawpixel / CC BY

 

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