JOPLIN, Mo. – For the first time in months, Carl Junction resident Lauren Laning is excited about the future. The last several months for her family have been filled with uncertainty because of the pandemic.
“My husband works construction in California, and so with everything being shut down construction came to a halt,” explains Laning.
He’s been without a steady job ever since. Laning usually doesn’t work — staying home to take care of their three kids. She also has a disability that’s kept her from getting a more traditional job. But she recently got some good news: a job where she won’t have to leave the house.
“Being able to work from home, especially like right now… my son just got quarantined, so you work a regular job (being home’s) not something that you can do,” says Laning. “And then being able to be home where I can kind of control my environment for my disability is really beneficial.”
Alorica, a call center in Joplin, is currently working to hire 600 people to work exclusively from home. They’re open to anyone in the four-state area, start at $15 an hour, are full time and include benefits. Jeb Cook, Senior Team Manager at Alorica Joplin, says when the pandemic hit they shifted 80 percent of their employees to work-from-home. Since then, they’ve noticed a few positives.
“Our employees are happy working from home. They’re doing a great job taking care of their customers,” says Cook. “As I said, it was something born out of necessity done at first, and we’ve just had a great time with it.”
According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13.4 percent of employed people teleworked or worked from home in the last four weeks, with the main motivator being the pandemic. The highly contagious Delta variant has caused several big companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook to push back their timelines for bringing people back into the office to next year.
Many businesses plan to adopt a hybrid model, where employees come into the office at least two to three days a week if they don’t end up going back to the status quo.
For businesses like Alorica and people like Laning though, remote work may very well be the way of the future.
“It’s a dream come true,” says Laning. “And that they pay really well… that’s gonna be really beneficial for my family all the way around.”
So far Alorica has filled 300 of the 600 work-from-home positions that are currently open.
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