Seven Transforming Trends Shifting Work Opportunities Online

The Internet has affected and altered the world of work as we once knew it. Seven important trends have both resulted from and fueled the penetration of the Internet into every corner of the world.

To understand these trends will significantly increase your awareness of what new kinds of online and telecommuting work have come into existence as a result. These trends have produced whole new work categories-jobs that did not exist ten, or even two, years ago-some of which were not even possible before.

Trend #1: The Changing Economy Has Caused Increased Outsourcing

Given the challenges of the current economy, many companies have determined that online outsourcing some portion of their work leads to significant savings and better performance, while allowing them to focus on their “core business.” Through online outsourcing, businesses can gain access to skills, knowledge and expertise that would be expensive or time-consuming to develop in-house.

Additionally, companies have found that by taking advantage of the added capabilities of online talent that are available to them through online outsourcing, they are able to increase their innovation and reduce their time-to-market. This can significantly accelerate their market responsiveness through the design, development and production of new products.

The movement towards ever-increasing outsourcing by businesses has created a flood of new online work opportunities. There are many types of online outsourcing services-call centers, customer support providers, customer relation management firms, data processing services, virtual assistant agencies, and telesales specialists, to list a few. This trend has resulted in the need for and the proliferation of increasingly large contractor databases offering online outsourcing services.

Trend #2: Globalization of Business Has Created New Online Work

Now that the world is the marketplace, many new jobs have been created based on increased needs for people to bridge the previous cultural, monetary and language divisions, and the limitations this dividedness formerly imposed. If you are bilingual or multicultural, your employment possibilities abound.

Companies like abGlobal hire bilingual translators to serve hundreds of clients, from large government agencies and law firms to nonprofit organizations and private individuals. There are many other agencies that enlist expert freelance translators to handle the deluge of translation needs the Internet has generated.

Without a doubt, the ability to speak English is also a significant asset for finding work in this global world of business. Because the Internet is primarily an English-speaking medium, small businesses, as well as mega-corporations, realize that they need to acquire or improve their English writing and speaking ability. In order to compete, they need to be able to communicate clearly and precisely in English. Moreover, their Webpages, emails, articles, sales materials and customer support documents must reflect mastery of standard English.

Companies like ISpeakUSpeak hire native English speakers to work one-on-one as English language trainers with students worldwide through a series of English conversations with their trainers, and then receive immediate feedback in order to improve. This language-related example is just one of the many job functions that have emerged because the Web has globalized business.

Trend #3: Glocalization of Business also Has Created New Online Work

To understand the term “glocalization,” think about the two words it combines… global and local. Glocalization describes a product or service that is developed globally, but adapted locally in order to accommodate the consumers particular to each local market. The products or services of an online business are tailored to conform to local laws, customs, culture, and consumer preferences. Services that are effectively “glocalized” are of much greater interest and utility to local customers, and as such, are significantly more marketable.

Yahoo! is an example of a company that practices glocalization. It markets a portal that is viewed worldwide. But it offers multiple distinct versions of its website and services, customizing content and language to appeal to individuals who live in some 25 different countries, including China, Russia and Canada.

An ever-increasing number of businesses are developing their own version of glocalization in an effort to build their customer bases and increase sales. VIPdesk.com is an example. They describe the “glocalization” of their services as “international coverage and presence combined with local expertise.” For example, VIP Desk hires a local home-based professionals to perform web-based Concierge Services for clients visiting the area. The local expert responds to requests for information, guidance, and assistance with localized tasks such as restaurant reservations, transportation services or tickets to shows or events.

VIP Desk currently offers a customized local version of global services in 20 market areas: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Toronto, Canada.

Trend #4: The Internet has Significantly Expanded Shopper Expectations

Shoppers now expect knowledge along with their products-condensed and useful information through which they can become fully educated and savvy before they make a buying decision. They are not so much looking for recommendations as they are seeking a basis for making their own intelligent choices.

Consumers also want more options-a fuller selection of choices than they generally can find in a brick-and-mortar store. And they expect convenience while making their purchases, with full support afterwards.

This trend of expanded customer expectations and demands has generated new categories of jobs that are designed to address these needs. Increased customer requirements have changed the landscape for all businesses-traditional as well as online-if they want to thrive, or even if they just want to survive.

As an example of the types of jobs this trend has generated, VIP Desk hires at-home “Brand Ambassadors” to help companies differentiate their company “from the crowd” in order to build customer loyalty. Brand Ambassador services help companies to:

  • attract and retain their best customers,
  • increase customer engagement,
  • extend their brand into the daily lives of their customers,
  • capture lifestyle and behavior data of their customers,
  • differentiate their brand from competitors, and
  • increase customer satisfaction scores and lifetime customer value.

Trend #5: Social Media Has Changed the Needs & Challenges of Business

Companies know that social media is now a critical component of their customers’ decision-making processes. Consumers are more likely to make buying decisions based on what they read from people they trust on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, forums, blogs, Wikipedia, and Yahoo!Answers.

Here are some market statistics:

  • 72% of customers use social media to research customer care reputation before making a purchase.
  • 92% expect companies to have a social media presence for customer service.
  • 66% want companies to increase the use of social media for customer service.
  • This new phenomenon creates online jobs that were never even contemplated before-jobs that involve interesting tasks, such as:
  • capturing data from across the social media landscape,
  • analyzing and identifying trends,
  • actively listening to social media conversations,
  • responding to customers through social media channels,
  • participating in and understanding global conversations,
  • merging social media data with other data sources, and
  • integrating social media when generating contact lists.

One category of work that has been generated by this trend is “social media intelligence and analytics.” What new tasks and services are needed to maintain and maximize a company’s brand presence in the world of tweets, blog posts, and hashtags? What talents, skills, and strategies you need to put into play to be successful, to find employment, and to establish a career in the world of social media? (Consult Chapter 8 for answers to these questions).

Trend #6: Ubiquitous Access to Online Education Has Removed Former Barriers to Learning

What degrees and/or credentials do you already have? What additional certifications, degrees or credentials do you need? The Internet has significantly shifted the playing field for those who need or want to know and learn more.

The goalpost for what you need to know and be able to do is advancing constantly. On the other hand, you now have ready access to whatever degrees, credentials, certifications or training you need or want, simply by locating a school or program online.

Where once an education was an event, it is now an ongoing and continuing process. And where once you may have been forced to choose between going to school and taking a job, now you can have a job and go to school at the same time.

This ubiquitous access we now have to learn what we need to learn, when and where we want to learn it, means that it is now possible for you to enter areas of work you may once have thought to be beyond your reach. By attending school, you can prepare yourself to acquire that better job you always wished you could acquire.

As well as opening up opportunities to learn anything, anytime, from anywhere, the online education movement has generated many new types of jobs in its own right. There are positions for online college faculty, online high school teachers, online tutors, online trainers, and online training materials producers, including online training videos.

Now that access to learning has, thanks to the Web, become ubiquitous, the hunger for learning-learning throughout life-has created its own ever-escalating set of demands.

Trend #7: Access to Information Has Made Us Want to Control Our Own Physical and Mental Welfare

The Internet has made us advocates for our own health, and active participants in everything related to it. Where we once may have been completely dependent and reliant on local health facilities and personnel, we now want to assume more responsibility for our own physical and mental wellbeing. Instead of feeling helpless about a symptom or diagnosis, we actively seek and have access to quality information on that topic, including alternative treatments, health maintenance practices that could make a difference, and even possible alternative diagnoses.

This trend to want to take control of our minds and bodies has been fed by the increase in available accurate information, and, in turn, has created an online market demand for information, consulting, and interaction with professionals.

Ask Yourself “What Does This Mean to Me?”

Considering these seven trends, where would you fit in the cyber world of work? What new kinds of online and telecommuting work that now has come into existence would be a perfect match for your talents and abilities, and would engage you and fulfill you while also providing you the considerable benefit of working from your own home office, taking back your commuting time, and adapting to your own work rhythm? Given the whole new work categories these seven trends have produced, there are many potential possibilities for your own productive and successful shift to the cyber workplace.

Why Recycle an End of Life Car?

The green movement has gathered momentum in the recent years. This has brought automotive recycling ‘industry’ in the limelight. What was once looked on as a salvage yard where cars were dumped has now evolved into a full-blown industry for reusing most auto parts. Car parts are recycled extensively with the help of auto wreckers who salvage each and every part of the car.

Reasons for the growth of auto recycling:

1. Technological Advancements:

Technology has introduced ways to recycle most auto parts that were earlier discarded. There are processes that convert parts that cannot be reused ‘as is’ into other useful products. For instance, tires are now processed for making pavements, etc, glass from cars is recycled to produce products such as tiles, counter-tops, etc.

2. Environmental Pollution:

A car is a large structure and if abandoned it will occupy our precious landfill. Besides a car has parts such as tires, windshields, and others made of non-biodegradable material. These also cannot be allowed to lie as waste material on the land. Cars contain various chemicals and fluids. If cars are not disposed of, these toxic chemicals will seep into the surrounding environment. This will contaminate the water bodies affecting our drinking water and the aquatic life. If cars are not recycled, they will have an overall negative impact on human and plant life.

3. Huge market for recycled auto parts:

Functional parts of cars are carefully removed and are sold in the market. There is a huge market for recycled car parts because these parts serve as spare parts at low prices. Many a time they are the only option for spares (as in the case of vintage cars). Car manufacturers design parts with long life. So, even when the car is discarded, these parts can be reused. Since these parts are extracted from original cars, they provide a good fit.

4. Saves Natural Resources:

Auto recycling drastically cuts down the number of new parts to be manufactured. This has a positive impact on our natural resources. By recycling steel, plastics, etc, we reduce the energy and water consumption to a large extent. Additionally reusing different materials from cars reduces the need to manufacture them from scratch. This reduces the environmental pollution that results due to the fabrication of products from scratch.

Thus we see that by recycling an end of life car, an auto wrecker does a service not only to the owner of the discarded car but also to the environment.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Digital Photography

1. Lesser cost

One of the advantages that digital cameras provide is the fact that it is very practical and convenient. There is less cost in the long run as one need not buy film anymore and will need not develop the pictures the old fashion way. They would only need to charge the batteries, get a reasonably large memory stick and they are good to go.

2. Better storage

Photographers can now store the pictures that they have taken in their computers and in their cds, allowing them to use the memory stick over and over again. There is no more need to store rolls of film and worry that they might disintegrate.

3. Printing convenience

Another convenience that digital cameras provide is the fact that it can be printed at home the same way one would print any kind of file.

4. Trial and Error

Another convenience that digital cameras provide is the fact that one can actually view the photos right after taking it and have the option of erasing it when it is not good. This, according to experts, spoils photographers. Because they can do a take over and over again, they do not learn the discipline of planning for their shot before actually pressing the button.

Still, for the amateur photographer, this is like manna in heaven as this enables them to easily take good photographs and see their mistakes.

Disadvantages

1. Need for Computer literacy

Similar to film photography where you need to be also familiar with working in the dark room, one needs to have a modicum of computer skills. Not only will you be shooting your photographs in the computer, operating the camera is like operating a small computer. You really have to be computer literate in order to maximize the functions of your camera.

2. Artistry is lost

There are some that argument that artistry and spontaneity is lost when using a digital camera because photographers do not shoot using various effects. For instance, some would not bother to blur the background because because they can fix the photo in Photoshop and other graphic programs. One can do a number of things with the computer, erase flaws, fix red eyes and sharpen some features.

Mom and Dad Can Still Travel – Seven Tips to Help Get Them Back on the Road Again

Are your parents reluctant to travel because they just don’t get around like they used to? Well they’re not alone. According to a 2012 US Census report roughly 30.6 million people have difficulty walking or climbing stairs, or use a wheelchair, cane, crutches or walker. Furthermore, nearly 40 percent of people over 65 have at least one disability, according to the US Census Bureau.

But that doesn’t mean travel is out of the question for these folks. In this day and age, with a little advance planning and consumer education, people are able to travel no matter what their disability. Additionally, many travel agencies now provide accessible travel products and services; and as Baby Boomers continue to age, more and more companies are jumping on the access bandwagon. With that in mind, here are some tips to help folks with mobility issues get back on the road — or in the air or on the sea — again.

  • Even if you can walk, reserve an airport wheelchair if you tire easily. Some airports are huge and you could easily put on several miles while in transit, and then arrive at your destination exhausted.
  • You are not required to remove your shoes at the airport security checkpoint if you are physically unable to do so. Just tell the Transportation Security Administration agent that you can’t, and they will hand wand you and swab your shoes for explosive residue.
  • If you need wheelchair accessible transportation from the airport to your hotel, choose a hotel that has a free airport shuttle. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, if the hotel provides free transfers, they must also provide free accessible transfers, even if they have to contract out the service.
  • Cruises are a great accessible vacation choice, but new cruise ships are huge and it can be very tiring to walk from one end to the other. If fatigue is a factor, rent an electric scooter and have it delivered directly to your stateroom. Check with the cruise line for their approved vendors.
  • If you drive to the port, remember that parking is free at all Florida cruise ship piers for cruise passengers who have permanent accessibility modifications installed on their vehicles.
  • In Europe, remember the first floor is not at street level, so if you want a room at street level, ask for a room on the ground floor. Many small European hotels only have stairway access to the first floor.
  • Don’t forget to pack your accessible parking placard with you whenever you travel. It’s good everywhere in the US (except for New York City), Canada and Europe.

Finally, encourage your parents to do extensive pre-trip research, and expand their horizons. There really are a lot of accessible offerings out there and the internet is a great place to find updated access information.