A lot of Africans are increasingly looking outside the continent for remote opportunities. United States is a very attractive option for remote jobs. According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 9 million job openings in US in February 2023. A big number of these job openings remain unfilled monthly.
Several American companies are now taking advantage of remote work option to employ professionals who reside outside the United States and Africa is not excluded.
How can an African Professional work remotely for a US company from Africa?
Anyone residing in Africa can work remotely for US companies if they have the right skillset and find/apply for the right opportunities. Here are things to do you prepare yourself for working for a US company from Africa.
Develop the necessary skills
You will need to develop the skills required for remote work. The skills to learn depends on the type of job you are looking for. Generally, you will need to have
- Excellent communication skills; Communication is key to successful remote work. You need to have the ability to communicate effectively with your team and manager, and keep them updated on your progress.
- Proficiency in the tools and technologies used for remote work like Slack, Microsoft Office, Google Workspace, TimeDoctor, Project management tools like Asana, Jira, Trello etc
- The ability to manage your time effectively. Time management is very crucial when working remotely. If you don't manage your time well, you might end up being unproductive or overworked.
Other necessary skills depends on your area of expertise. You can research tools used in your field and learn how to use them. For example, a civil engineer should be know how to use AutoCAD, a graphics designer should learn tools like Adobe PhotoShop, Illustrator, InDesign etc.
Have a Reliable Internet Connection
Working remotely requires a stable and fast internet connection. Ensure that you have a reliable internet connection that can support video conferencing, file sharing, and other remote work tools. Some companies will specify the minimum internet speed required like 20-30Mbps.
Have a Steady Power Supply
Remote work requires you to be available and reachable during office hours and sometimes outside office hours. You have to ensure you have steady power supply to keep you connected.
If you live in a place with epileptic power supply, ensure you make provision for backup power like a power generator or power bank.
Get the necessary equipment
You will need a computer, headset, and webcam to work remotely. Ensure that your equipment is up-to-date and can support the software and applications you will be using. Also, you will need a comfortable desk and chair since you will be seating down a lot of the time. Note, some companies have budget for new employees to set up their workstation, some provide annual allowance for home office setup.
Understand the time difference
If you're working remotely for a US company from Africa, there may be a significant time difference. Make sure that you understand the time difference and can schedule your work accordingly.
The time difference will require you working well into the night. For example, the timezones in Africa fall within GMT/UTC and GMT/UTC +3 and US timezones are within GMT/UTC -5 and GMT/UTC -8. This will mean that 8am in US will be 1pm - 7pm in Africa depending your timezone.
If you reside in Nigeria with timezone of GMT/UTC +1 and you work for a company in the US in Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC -5, typical work time of 8am to 5pm will be 2pm to 11pm for you.
Find remote work opportunities
You can search for remote work opportunities on job boards link remote4africa, freelance platforms, or through networking. It's important to apply for jobs that match your skills and experience.
Familarise yourself with the companies' culture and expectations before applying. Also, understand the companies' policies, communication style, and deadlines.
By following these steps, you can work remotely for a US company from Africa.