Home-Based Agents Make Trade Offs For Home Office

Inside Bay Area:

Megan Hanlon-Akright wanted to get to back into the work force. But she didn’t want to go back to commuting to a job.

A flexible schedule was what the 47-year-old Danville resident was looking for, something that would let her work at home so she could be around when her 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son returned from school.

To that end, Hanlon-Akright became a home-based customer service agent. She helps customers of a Chicago-based utility set up or turn off natural gas service in their homes from her home.

“I had a career for 15 to 20 years. And then my children became my career for 10 years when I became a stay-at-home mom,” said Hanlon-Akright, who formerly worked in public relations. “Both of my children are in school full time. I wanted to get back to work.”

Many large companies are turning to home-based agents in the United States to do customer service, sales and technical support work as an alternative to outsourcing those jobs overseas. At the same time, more and more people are becoming home-based agents in order to have a flexible work schedule on their own terms.

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