The benefits of working from home are plenty: flexibility, more productivity and an easier approach to work-life balance. According to the Telework Research Network, 2.8 million people consider home their primary workplace — and millions more work from home at least one day a week.
If you're looking to join their ranks and find a great work-from-home job, here's what you need to know.
What type of work gets done from home?
According to Telework Research's 2011 report, "State of Telework in the U.S.," full-time work-from-home positions are most prevalent in the finance/insurance and health care/social services industries. Other positions that lend themselves well to working from home include sales, creative work (such as writing or graphic design) and even management.
Some of the highest-paid work-from-home positions include actuaries, business intelligence analysts and software developers. Of course, just because you're qualified to do those types of jobs doesn't mean you'll be able to land a job doing them from home.
What do employers want in a remote employee?
Employers look for a lot of things when searching for candidates for remote working opportunities, but one of the biggest factors tends to be trust.
"I typically hire people I know or people who know people I know," says John Paul Engel, president of Knowledge Capital Consulting, a recruiting and consulting firm.
"At the end of the day, I'm responsible, so I need to trust them," says Engel, who hires computer programmers, graphic designers and sales researchers and looks for traits such as dependability, computer skills, attention to detail and experience.
Craig Wolfe, president of CelebriDucks, says experience and trust are important to him, too. His company has graphic designers and other creative types who work remotely.
"I look for people that are at the top of their game in terms of skill level and also who can self-manage, meet deadlines and, most of all, stay accountable and communicative," Wolfe says. "They don't need to be in an office. They just need to be people I can trust and work with."
Is it time to try telemarketing?
Telemarketing is another popular work-from-home job and can include sales or customer service. David Reischer, hiring partner and chief operations officer at LegalAdvice.com, says his organization regularly hires telemarketers to work from home and tracks sales from its platform in the main office. "As such, there is no need for our sales team to come into the office every day."
Reischer says the organization's interview process takes place through a Skype teleconference, which allows the hiring managers to evaluate how a candidate sounds on the phone.
"We are able to discern from a 45-minute interview whether the candidate has the poise and mental agility to sell our product," Reischer says.
Those who get hired go through training because telemarketers who work at home tend to be more productive if they're given proper training on managing sales calls, he says.
People who are looking for telecommuting jobs can search for "remote," "telework" or other terms that indicate the position is a work-at-home job.
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