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What Does a Secretary from Home Do?

K. Kinsella
K. Kinsella

A secretary from home performs a variety of administrative duties for another individual or a business entity. Some firms offer secretary from home services and these businesses employ large numbers of experienced secretaries or administrators on a contractual basis. Other work from home secretaries are self-employed individuals who are not affiliated with secretarial firms.

Typically, a secretary from home answers calls and handles customer issues on behalf of a client. The client may have their phone line forwarded to the secretary's home line but in other instances, the client provides customers with the secretary's own number. Like any administrative assistant, a secretary from home must take messages and forward important calls to the client. Typically, the client liaises with the secretary throughout the day and provides the secretary with instructions detailing which customer calls to forward and times of day when the client will be non-contactable.

A secretary working from home.
A secretary working from home.

Home based secretaries also accept and respond to emails on behalf of a client. As with phone calls, urgent emails may be passed directly onto the client while less important messages may be saved and answered at a later date. Some clients may arrange conference calls with their secretary during which the client will dictate emails that the secretary must then compose and send to clients. Additionally, a secretary from home may also have to compose and mail letters on behalf of a client.

Secretaries often handle website administrative duties.
Secretaries often handle website administrative duties.

Some small businesses also require secretaries to handle administrative duties related to company websites. The client normally hires a programmer to set up the site but the secretary may be provided with login information and asked to update website information on a daily or weekly basis. When a business organizes a promotion, the secretary may have to place details of the promotion on the company website as well as composing and sending out promotional emails.

Owners of small businesses often have to arrange face-to-face meetings with clients to negotiate sales and service contracts. In many instances, a home based secretary can arrange these meetings by liaising with the client's business partners and prospective customers. Normally, secretaries have access to the client’s online calendar or planner so that the secretary can record details of these meetings.

Qualifications for a secretary from home vary based upon the needs of the client. Generally, a secretary must have good typing and customer service skills. Some firms that contract secretaries require contracted workers to have undergone some kind of vocational training at college or secretarial training schools. Clients that deal with overseas customers may require work from home secretaries to have second language skills.

Discussion Comments


@fBoyle-- Technically, as long as you make yourself available and can answer phone calls and emails during the time of the day you are expected to, you can work from anywhere. I think it might be problematic to do that if you are outside of the country. First of all, people will have to call you on an international number and the time difference may make it difficult for you to meet your employer.

I personally hired a secretary from home because I wanted to make sure that I didn't miss any important calls or emails. If my secretary can't pick up calls and answer emails right away, then there is no point in having a secretary.


@fBoyle-- Yes, there is a demand for secretaries that work from home. But keep in mind that this is usually not a long-term position. Most employers are looking for a secretary that can work from home for a temporary period. For example, the employer might not have an office at that time, or he might be traveling and may need the assistance of a secretary until those circumstances change. Moreover, since secretaries that work from home are usually considered self-employed, there are no benefits involved.

I don't think that this is a desirable long-term job for this reason. It's definitely a good option to gain some experience and to have an income when other jobs aren't available. But I don't think anyone works as secretary from home for many years.


I didn't realize that secretaries can work from home and that there is actually a demand for this. It sounds like a great freelance job for people who enjoy working from home or who have to be home for some reason.

How can I become a secretary from home? Can I do this work when I'm outside of the country? Where do I find information about such vacancies?

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      A secretary working from home.
    • Secretaries often handle website administrative duties.
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      Secretaries often handle website administrative duties.