By | August 13, 2021

University days are often referred to as the best days of your life. However, as the cost of getting a university education continues to soar, more and more students are taking on part-time or full-time work to help fund their college years.

While things haven’t changed completely and there are still plenty of students working summer jobs, there has been a shift in recent years to remote working. Remote working has become the new normal across the globe. In fact, a Future Workplace report carried out by Inavero found that 73% of all departments will have remote job positions by 2028. 

According to Recruitment experts Lensa, more students than ever are not only choosing to study remotely, but they’re choosing to work remotely too. This change in mindset is hardly surprising considering how many opportunities there are now for online work and the freedom it offers students. But why is it such a good fit?

Why are uni students the perfect candidates for remote jobs?

Remote working looks set to stay with 85% of millennials stating that they would prefer remote work from home jobs. With this move to a different, more virtual way of working, students have found themselves in a unique position in the job market. They have the skills and adaptability to pivot and position themselves perfectly for a fully remote career. Most university students are digital natives, making the influx of virtual jobs perfect for their skillset. As more and more remote job opportunities crop up, students with little job experience have increasingly more options to choose from. Freelance remote jobs in digital marketing, web design, and community management for social media are on the increase and many don’t require a wealth of experience. 

While there are some downsides to remote working such as a lack of social connection, there’s no doubt that there are a lot of benefits. Especially for students.

The advantages of working a remote job

For students on the lookout for a summer job to earn some cash, a remote summer job certainly has great appeal. A big number of university students in the UK travel to another city or part of the country to study, having a remote summer job allows students to keep working after they move back home for the summer and throughout the year. This gives them the opportunity to make a steadier income throughout the full academic year, not just in summer. Remote jobs open the doors to make your summer job or side hustle into a longer-term career path. 

Remote working also gives uni students the freedom to work from anywhere they want, even on their holidays, meaning they don’t have to sacrifice trips away for their summer job. This freedom is perfect for students who need money to fund their tuition fees but who still want to enjoy their summer holidays.

It’s estimated that remote workers save around $4,000 annually on the costs of commuting, lunches, work clothes, and the other expenses that come with working in a professional environment. For students, remote working can save them a fortune, freeing up the money saved on suits and coffee to go towards their education expenses. Student debt has been on the rise in the Uk for some time now, in fact, figures show that at the end of March 2021, the value of outstanding student loans reached a whopping £141 billion. Remote jobs give students struggling with student debt a way to fund their education without getting sucked into thousands of pounds worth of debt. 

So now that the benefits of remote working are clear, let’s take a look at the best remote jobs out there for university students.

The best jobs (and salaries!) for university students looking for remote jobs

The way we study has changed a lot in recent years, with online university degrees opening the doors for a more diverse profile of students. Thanks to this newfound freedom, there are more parents, older people, and people with limited financial resources studying than ever before. While most uni students work part-time, more and more students are juggling their studies with full-time employment, families, and other commitments. This has blurred the lines a little between a typical student summer job and a career.

Industry experts Lensa used their unique position to research the best remote jobs for college students and came up with a list of great remote working options for students. 

In their research, Lensa pinpointed eight of the best remote jobs for university students, including the potential salary for each one, broken down per hour. Of course, the actual amount you earn will depend on a variety of factors including how many hours you work, your level of experience, and the skill required for the role, but this list offers an accurate estimate of what you can expect to earn.

Here’s a summary of the top five Lensa picks for university students looking for remote work.

Freelance Writer

Most freelance writing gigs are project-based. As a freelance writer, you could be expected to write articles, books, blog posts, and website copy. Freelance writers with a niche area of expertise such as photography, have higher earning potential. The best way to earn big as a freelance writer is to find long-term work with an agency or organisation. 

Skills needed: Freelance writers need to demonstrate that they have excellent research skills and a flair for writing. Potential employers will almost always ask to see a portfolio of writing samples to check that the writer has the necessary skills. The good news is, you can create your own portfolio of writing pieces without the need for previous experience. As well as having research and writing skills, freelance writers need to have great time management skills to hit their delivery dates and they need to communicate with clients clearly and take feedback well. As a writer, you’ll need a thick skin and to learn how to understand briefs and take criticism on the chin.

Salary Range: £8 – £40/hour

Virtual Assistant

The digital age is upon us and with it has come lots of new types of jobs. A virtual assistant is one of them. Virtual assistants offer admin services such as organising calendars, sorting out invoices and paperwork, managing communications, and other tasks that make the employer’s life easier. There has been a rise in demand for virtual assistants amongst both individuals running their own small business and bigger organisations looking for an extra pair of hands, but not necessarily a full-time staff member.

Skills needed: Depending on the scope of the work, the required skill set may differ from job to job. However, the core skills that a Virtual Assistant needs to have excellent organisation skills, fantastic time management, and great communication skills. Virtual Assistants also need to use their intuition and prepare for any eventuality. Previous experience and knowledge of the industry will increase your earning potential in this role.

Salary Range: £7 – £18/hour

Data Entry Clerk

Lensa points out that data entry jobs have long since been appealing to students, thanks to the flexibility and little experience required. Generally speaking, Data Entry Clerks use computer software to sort, process, and input data. 

Skills needed: Data entry doesn’t usually require a lot of previous experience, but there are skills that are needed for the role. Data Entry Clerks should have excellent attention to detail, great computer and typing skills, the ability to navigate new database programs, and fantastic time management skills. 

Salary range: £10 – £13/hour

Customer Support Representative

The demand for online Customer Support Representatives has continued to skyrocket. Similar to a traditional in-store Customer Service Representative, the role mainly consists of responding to queries and complaints from customers. There are several channels where this service might take place, including via email or live chat. While online customer support has grown, there are still a lot of customers who prefer the human touch, meaning that many Customer Support Representatives spend a large part of their workday on the phone with customers. 

Skills needed: To be successful in a customer support role, you need to have excellent communication skills, empathy, patience, and strong active listening skills. A large part of your job will be to represent your employer and turn shoppers into loyal customers. 

Salary range: £7 – £15

Community Manager

In the fifth spot is Social Media or Community Manager. In their article, the experts at Lensa highlight how becoming a freelance Community Manager is a great fit for many social media savvy students. Students spend an increasing amount of time on social media and are up-to-date on all the latest platforms and trends. This makes them a great candidate to manage the social media presence for a business. A Community Manager determines the voice of the brand and its key messaging. For this role, you’ll need to understand the core values of the company, who its audience is, and how to engage them through social media posts.

Skills needed: Community Managers need to be creative and understand how to engage with people. They need to be extremely savvy and stay on top of latest trends, and they need to have great communication skills.

Salary range: £27 – £46/hour

Of course, these are just some examples of the types of remote jobs that are out there. The possibilities to work online are endless, you simply need to develop your skills in a certain area and learn how to sell your personal brand. Building a network of professionals in your chosen area is a great place to start. Whether you’re looking for a casual side hustle or a career path, it’s often who you know, not what you know.

Now that you have a good idea of the best virtual job options out there, let’s see some tips on how to navigate the world of remote working. 

Tips for remote working success

Remote jobs undoubtedly give you the freedom to work from anywhere (even your dorm room!) without the additional time and money costs, but there are also a few challenges when it comes to working a virtual job. For most of us, students or not, it can be tough to stay motivated when we’re feeling depleted, especially when your bed or sofa is right in front of you, calling your name. While it’s a temptation we all struggle with from time to time, it can be even more challenging for students who are studying hard and enjoying the social scene to the fullest. Late nights studying or in the student union can put a spanner in the works and kill motivation, especially when there are no bosses or coworkers around to keep you in check.

One of the other great challenges that remote work presents is the increase in the number of distractions. All of a sudden, workers have access to their phones and the internet, as well as interruptions from family, friends, and pets. These distractions are hard on us all, but when you’re at university living in shared housing, it can be even tougher to stay focused on the job at hand. 

Thankfully, there are solutions to these challenges which can make working from your dorm room a whole lot easier. 

1. Create a work schedule and stick to it

If your remote job doesn’t have designated hours, create your own schedule. By blocking off specific parts of your day to dedicate to work, you’ll find it easier to strike that work-life balance and keep your focus. Sometimes it can be tempting to avoid work and let it pile up, but this causes unnecessary stress and you’ll just spend the day with that nagging voice in the back of your head telling you that you should be working. By setting aside dedicated work hours, you free up the rest of your day to focus on your life or studies. You can also minimise distractions by letting your roommates know when you’re working and when you’re free for a chat.

2. Get organised with a to-do list & cross off one thing at a time

It’s important to stay organised when you’re working from your home space. Write a clear to-do list at the start of each working day and work through it methodically. Lists will help you to stay focused on one task at a time. Studies show that only 2.5% of people can multitask effectively, if you aren’t in that lucky 2.5%, you’ll get a lot further by doing one thing at a time. Even though you’re working, living, and socialising in the same space, it’s important to separate work from life. Be mindful and proactively make a distinction between the two. Your mental health will thank you for it and you’ll be much more productive.

2. Set up your workspace for success

Finding a dedicated office space in your home can be tricky, especially in a shared dorm or student flat. However, it’s incredibly important to create a space to work. Not only will it drastically improve your mental health and help you get more done, but it is also essential for your physical health. Working from the sofa or your bed is unhealthy and could cause long-term health issues. It’s key that you create an office space with plenty of natural life, an ergonomic chair, and a table to avoid hunching over your laptop. Investing in a dedicated work space in your home is really an investment in your physical and mental health. Once you enter your workspace you should switch into work mode. This means no pyjamas and no distractions.

3. Move regularly and with purpose

We’ve all heard the expression to think on your feet. Well, resume.io takes this concept to the next level with this genius hack. Working in a confined space such as an apartment or dorm room can lead to limited mobility which causes long-term physical health issues. One way to stay active while still being productive is to exercise while you think. Plan out exercise breaks at regular intervals throughout the day and use those times to think of new ideas. Whether you’re trying to come up with a new idea for a blog title, the perfect explanation for your student, or the next great social media post, move while you think. Studies have found that movement can stimulate creativity, so harness this power and stay healthy by putting it in your schedule. Of course, most of your tasks may be hands-on tasks that require you to be at your computer, but capitalise on any opportunity to move while you work. It’s worth it. 

4. Take measures to maintain human connections

Human connection is important. Being part of a team gives us a sense of belonging and purpose, we learn from each other and support each other when necessary. It also helps to build trust and mutual respect with your colleagues. Even if you aren’t feeling isolated working remotely, it’s still important to forge human connections with colleagues, bosses, and peers in the industry. The more you reach out and connect with others, the more you’ll combat loneliness and stay engaged. Don’t lose your human connections that come with water cooler chats and office lunches, create your own network of people in your field and stay connected for both personal and professional development reasons.

Keeping these tips and tricks in mind will help you excel in your remote working job –whether it’s a summer job or a career path– and look after your mental, physical, and emotional health at the same time. 

Key takeaways

The world has gone digital and the doors have opened for students to study and work fully online. Whether it’s part-time work or seasonal work, there are a plethora of opportunities for university students to work from home (or from their dorm room). Remote jobs give students the freedom to work from any location and with flexible hours. Thanks to the lack of commute, students can save precious time and clock more hours to fund their studies. According to recruitment experts Lensa, university students might just be the perfect fit for the remote working culture that has taken the world by storm.