By Amanda Taylor, NEWS 9
The faltering economy and the urge to live greener lifestyles have encouraged people to ditch their commutes to the office.
While the concept of working from home has been around for years, offers are now surging, but officials warn that complaints are on the rise as well.
Thought there are complaints, experts reported there are legitimate companies that'll have employees working without ever walking out the door.
Surgical nurse Rhonda Lesher said she loved her job, but chose to hang up her scrubs when she got tired of dumping her paycheck into the gas tank.
"The price of gas was just getting way too high to make it feasible," Lesher said.
Lesher scoured newspapers and the Internet for a job that would keep her at home. She found there were many to choose from, but chose to chase two offers.
"They had you send in money and you were supposed to get a packet," Lesher said.
She said the packets were a waste of money and the jobs were not what she expected them to be. While the problem isn't uncommon, similar complaints are skyrocketing.
The Better Business Bureau reported complaints about at-home offers nearly doubled between the first and second quarters of 2008. The bureau also warned about a new type of scheme where people pay up front to get information about rebate-processing jobs.
"They may buy software, they may buy training materials," BBB's Steve Cox said. "What the individual is required then to do in most cases is sell ads to bring other people into the scheme."
Despite the problems with the scheming offers, there are legitimate job opportunities possible for those looking to work from home.
"The opportunities are increasing at a rapid fire speed," said Robyn Freedman Spizman, co-author of "Will Work From Home-Earn the Cash Without the Commute."
Spizman said there are many fields becoming popular, including virtual customer service representatives.
"You can take incoming calls for a large company or even a small company and help field those customer service concerns," Spizman said.
After Lesher researched companies like WorkingSolutions, Arise, and Alpine Access, she landed a customer service position with Alpine Access.
"I work from anywhere from 25 hours to 30 hours a week and I get to choose my schedule," Lesher said.
For skilled professionals, Spizman said freelance sites such as ELance and O'Desk can make matches between professionals and clients.
Some fulltime employees have even try taking their work home with them, but in most cases, the employer's approval will be needed.
"Present a well researched proposal stating how you are going to be measured," Spizman said. She suggested including what type of support can the employee offer from home and what is the true benfit to the employer.
Lesher couldn't justify working from home as a nurse, but is happy that she finally found a new job she loves with the perks she needs.
"The benefits have been great because I'm not spending money on gas and I'm not having to commute anywhere," Lesher said.