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Proper Behavior for Online Employers and Virtual Workers

virtual workers behavior

One area where offline and online environments intersect is human behavior. Though most Internet users enjoy, if not value, anonymity, this does not negate the essence of showing good behavior when socializing online.

Technical glitches excepted, it is perceived rude to ignore an email sent by someone you already know, or to leave a chat mate waiting for your reply without saying "Bye" or without informing her/him that you have to do something else.

It is also not nice to join a site forum or a chat room and attack fellow chatters with racist, insensitive, and hurtful comments. In the work context, proper behavior for online employers and telecommuting workers requires professionalism, open communication, and respect.

What does it mean to be professional?

Being professional can help an online applicant secure a job offer. It can also lead to more work and other potential opportunities. Professionalism is observed when an online worker does and finishes a task at a given time. Ideally, such judicious competence underlines the need for submitting quality work.

There are those, however, who forgo quality in exchange for meeting a deadline. A worker then needs to be careful in doing her/his online job to avoid tarnishing not just the kind of product s/he delivers, but her/his name as well. If completing it conflicts with a personal errand, s/he knows what to prioritize. Otherwise, it is better that s/he inform or negotiate with the employer to give her/him a modified deadline.

A professional online employer, on the other hand, does not post fraudulent ads on job sites. S/He has a legitimate business identity and offers a potential employee a good reward and benefits scheme. Exploiting workers is not part of her/his value system and business ethics. For instance, many online ads for freelance writers offer a measly payment.

This shows that people who paid for these posts think that writing articles is easy. But serious writers often do research and spend time rewriting and editing their work before submitting the final one. Thus, offering less than a dollar to $10 per article is deemed unfair, if not exploitative.

Why open communication is necessary

Being able to talk to one's boss while doing a job makes communication an integral element in maintaining a good online work relationship. The lines should always be open for the good of both parties.

This aids transparency and helps build trust. Emails, phone calls, chats, and every other medium that can facilitate the communication process are important. Questions, suggestions, and anything else related to work that needs to be resolved can only be addressed through open and honest communication.

Importance of respect

Being a professional and able to communicate involves respect. Respect entails valuing the time and resources that both employer and worker can offer each other. This also plays a crucial role most particularly in handling differences. Both parties should use words that they would not regret expressing.

Online communication does have its own nuances. Consequently, misunderstandings can happen. Both parties then should be mindful of the words they use. In cases of serious disagreements, it is still vital to settle issues before either party decides to terminate the relationship.

Good behavior knows no boundaries

Professionalism, open communication, and respect are all important in creating and maintaining good online work relationships. These not only ensure trust and a good name for both employers and workers, but they also preserve human dignity even in the virtual realm.

Advantages and Issues of Having Home-based Online Jobs

Similar to the real world, finding the right online work and doing it are not easy feats. Unlike offline, however, many online jobs could be done at home. Employers across the globe provide these opportunities. Several companies, as well as universities with distance learning programs, have been outsourcing jobs to and contracting workers from local communities and developing countries.

home based job

Call centers, computer firms, and small enterprises, among others, employ online workers. Positions range from customer care agents, website builders, transcribers, and content writers to curriculum developers, tutors, researchers, and virtual assistants. Doing online work from home then could mean telecommuting or marketing and supervising a business.

Advantages of telecommuting

Working from home allows parents to have an income while taking care of their children. It allows professionals to be their own boss. For full-time employees and students, the Internet can also provide them part-time jobs that they can do at night and during weekends, such as online writing, data encoding, and answering customer calls.

Certainly, online jobs help struggling workers to earn extra cash. These also provide them some control over when and where they like to work. Of course, how to do the job depends on what it is about and its requirements.

Issues of doing online jobs at home

In spite of its advantages, doing online work at home also has its risks and drawbacks:
  • Low compensation and zero benefits
Though they provide money and occasional promotion, online jobs rarely offer a high salary. They also do not have a benefits package that is typically given to office or company employees. Such package may include health insurance, subsidized tuition, paid vacation leaves, and other non-cash rewards.
  • Erratic work time and inadequate rest
The time allotted for work is influenced by other concerns. Stay-at-home parents still have to do house chores. Others run errands for loved ones. Unless one prefers doing his/her job beyond regular work hours or is more productive at night, not a few online workers stay awake until midnight or until early morning. Some even sacrifice their weekends to complete a task or to meet a deadline. The lack of sleep takes a toll on their health, even among insomniacs, as it can lead to poor concentration, depression, and weight problems.
  • Absence of or minimal legal protection for online workers (and online employers too)
Unless both employer and worker value their relationship that is mostly based on trust, the lack of a regulating and monitoring body to set online work standards makes either party vulnerable to cheating and exploitation. No institutional mechanism is set up to receive and process complaints about online work arrangements.
This is especially true at the national level even if the country is a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO). Nonetheless, there are a few sites that have policies on settling employer-worker disputes which may result in the termination of either party's subscription or membership privileges depending on the nature of the offense.

Weighing options

Certainly, the virtual world is as imperfect as the people who created it. It is also as imperfect as the real world. It is best then that online employers, telecommuting employees, and virtual job applicants be aware of the pros and cons of engaging in a web-based work relationship.