News

Students get paid while sitting at home

An emerging trend in student employment now allows students to work from home.

Typical jobs offered include answering calls for pizza delivery, conducting political surveys and ordering equipment for specific companies-jobs pay anywhere from $7 to $20 per hour.

When virtual call centers were first established, they were mainly popular with stay-at-home moms. Now, according to a report by LiveOps, a company that offers work-from-home customer service, the percentage of college students working from home is increasing, quickly making college students the most prominent home-based employees.

The company lists one of the chief benefits of home employment that appeals to students is that there is the fact that they do not need to commute to work.

Tim Whipple, vice president of Live Ops agent services, points out that the increasing number student employmees results from the flexibility of the working hours.

“[Live Ops] gives independent contractors the ability to make as much as they want so that they can still have time to study, socialize and sleep,” Whipple said. “[Live Ops] also helps students lead a balanced lifestyle.”

Lauren Stiteler, a senior at the University of Charleston in South Carolina, has been a contracting agent for Live Ops for two and a half years. She says the best part of her job is that she can set her own work hours.

“Last week I was really busy and so I did not go to work,” Stiteler said. “On average, however, I work 15 hours a week.”

Alpine Access, Willow CSN and VIPdesk are three other established services that let agents work for companies such as 1-800 Flowers, Office Depot, AAA Auto Clubs, Virgin Atlantic and the Internal Revenue Service. Agents are paid biweekly, either receiving a check in the mail or through direct deposit.

Once hired, potential agents are given an examination to test their reading comprehension and are also required to take a voice audition. These procedures ensure that individuals getting hired for these jobs are qualified to represent the company they chose to work for.

This type of job is extremely self-motivating and is not meant for everyone.

Though there are many advantages to this form of work, there are some disadvantages as well. For instance, Live Ops, Alpine Access, Willow CSN and VIPdesk are incompatible with Macs.

Also, though these jobs can be done at home at one’s own convenience, hired agents are required to obtain a cordless land-line phone to be used strictly for work related purposes. Additionally, though these companies do not require fees, they do charge $30 in order to perform routine credit and background checks.

According to an ABC News “Good Morning America” article, there are about 100,000 home-based agents in the United States and that number is expected to reach 300,000 by the year 2010.

Valerie Reyes may be contacted at v.reyes1@umiami.edu

October 13, 2006

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.