Are You Cut Out for Telecommuting?
If you’ve been looking for an upside to the Great Recession, here it is: More and more employers are embracing telecommuting and work-from-home jobs as a way to tighten their budgets.
That’s the assessment of Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs.com, who has seen an increase in demand for telecommuters since the Recession began. Hiring someone to work off-site saves on the cost of office space, says Fell. It also allows them to expand into other parts of the country or the world without the expense of opening up a satellite office. In fact, one in five workers now spends some part of their workweek laboring from home, according to 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Many work-from-home jobs are freelance or contract based, says Fell. But about half of the average 16,000 daily listings on FlexJobs.com are for full- or part-time positions with an employer. Some jobs require you to be available during a set time period. Other jobs are more flexible and allow you to work wherever or whenever as long as you meet your deadlines and goals.
Not everyone is suited for telecommuting. It can feel isolating, and you have to be self-motivated and comfortable with proactive communication. But if you are, there are definite benefits to working remotely. Think of all the time you'll save by skipping the daily commute, not to mention the money you can save on your work wardrobe when you're in charge of the dress code. Here are the 10 highest-demand telecommuting job opportunities from FlexJobs.com.
Medical and Health
Types of positions: R.N. case manager, patient care advocate, medical transcriptionist, clinical research coordinator/associate, health claims analyst, medical director
The opportunities in health care are enormous. Fell has even filled a position for a remote neurosurgeon. “You fly in for surgery, but the rest of the work is all done digitally so you don’t have to be on site except for when you have to perform surgery,” says Fell.
If you have a sought-after medical specialty, odds are you will be in high demand. “A lot of radiologist work can be done from home now because you’re studying images, reviewing files, Skype with patients, and that can all be done remotely,” says Fell.
Sample salaries*: registered nurse: $67,930; medical transcriptionist: $34,650
Types of positions: account representative, sales director/executive, territory manager, insurance agent, sales merchandiser, sales representative
Sales jobs are the perfect match for telecommuting because a company doesn’t want their sales team in the office — they want them out there selling. These jobs can be travel-intensive, depending on the industry, or a company could hire sales people in various parts of the country as a way to increase their own market reach.
“A lot of times, rather than feeling like you have to hire someone where your headquarters are, you can actually hire people [far away], and you really gain a lot from that because they already know the lay of the land. Many times they will have a network established already, and even if your business is something that’s a little nontraditional for them, that network can help them get to the people that they need to get to,” says Ramona Bilgram, manager of human resources services with HR provider Insperity. “So in that respect, telecommuting is perfect.”
Sample salaries: insurance sales agent: $63,400; sales manager: $119,980
Computer and Information Technology
Types of positions: software developer, analyst, application developer, systems administrator, engineer, systems analyst, programmer
People who work in IT have varying work styles, and so working outside of the office tends to fit this group well, says Bilgram.
“Some IT people thrive working odd hours,” she says. “They like working from four in the afternoon until midnight as opposed to (9 to 5). As long as the work is getting done they can work at different times, odd hours (and an employer) can be very accommodating to their work style and preference.”
Sample salaries: software developer, applications: $93,280; network and computer systems administrator: $76,320
Types of positions: customer service representative, support specialist, quality assurance specialist, customer care representative, field service representative
Customer service jobs rely on one primary tool: the telephone. Some available jobs include travel booking agents, bilingual customer service experts and something called a “happiness expert” who answers phones, participates in live chats with customers and manages invoices and payments.
Sample salaries: customer service representative: $33,110; computer user support specialist: $50,130
Education and Training
Types of positions: adjunct faculty, online tutor, online faculty, AP tutor, online coach, [high school subject] teacher, instructional designer, curriculum writer
You don’t need to be in a classroom to be an educator. You can teach online classes, tutor or provide academic support all from your home office. Some sample job postings include an online high school language arts teacher, an e-learning designer who creates content and graphic design elements for online teaching modules and virtual teachers for a variety of subjects including German, physics and chemistry.
Sample salaries: instructional coordinators: $62,420; high school teacher: $57,770
Types of positions: administrative coordinator, administrative assistant, human resource generalist, executive assistant, travel consultant, interviewer, claims processor, project manager
Administrative jobs enable people to manage offices, handle personnel issues or act as personal support for bosses who might be hundreds of miles away. The jobs include administrative assistants who handle data input and paperwork management, public relations coordinator who monitors media coverage for a PR team and human resources coordinators who handle new employee orientations and do pre-employment screenings.
Sample salaries: insurance claims and policy processing clerks: $37,300; executive assistant: $50,220
Types of positions: marketing manager, account representative, marketing analyst, marketing communications manager, digital marketing consultant, global campaigns manager, field marketing manager
Marketing jobs, where you are helping a company sell a product, can be done anywhere. “If you're on the phone all day long, what difference does it make if you're on the phone in your home or on the phone in a call center organization?” says Loren Miner, chief operating officer at recruiting firm Decision Toolbox.
Sample salaries: marketing manager: $129,870; market research analyst: $67,380
Types of Positions: business analyst, account representative, sales director, cloud business development manager, strategic account executive, sales development manager, major accounts manager
In the field of business development, employees are asked to strategize and coordinate plans to attain and retain clients and supervise sales and marketing efforts. Job titles include vice president, product marketing, which requires the employee to research and identify new business opportunities and travel to trade shows. A manager of business development listing searches for someone willing to generate new business leads and service current accounts and clients.
Sample salaries: wholesale and manufacturing sales account representative: $56,620; training and development manager: $103,810
Web and Software Development
Types of positions: cloud engineer, Web developer, junior developer, iOS software developer, DevOps manager, systems engineer, technical lead, senior computer programmer, Web application developer
Web-based jobs are a logical fit for home-based work. Often entire offices are scattered and connected solely by technology. “If you are a service-based company that revolves around the Internet and phone calls and Web-based technology, you can be in the Cloud. And if you're in the Cloud, you can be anywhere,” says Miner.
Example job postings include an Android software engineer, mobile game designer and Web engineering manager who works remotely while supervising other engineers off-site.
Sample salaries: Web developer: $66,100; computer programmer: $78,260
Types of Positions: auto damage appraiser, background investigator, clinical research associate, search engine evaluator, field interviewer, legislative manager, clinical project manager
Research jobs are a diverse lot that offer opportunities across various industries. Some sample job postings include a legal assistant to assist attorneys with scheduling appointments and filing petitions and a senior safety analyst who researches safety decisions to better improve performance.
Sample salaries: auto damage appraiser: $60,230; private investigator: $50,780