In Pursuit of a Telecommute:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that at last count, 13.7 million Americans were telecommuting or better worded - working from home! Only one in four had a formal agreement in place with their employers. The vast majority simply arrange with a supervisor to spend a day or two a week out of the office.
Highly educated workers were the most likely to telecommute, according to the BLS study. If telecommuting is your goal, career training can be a good first step.
The BLS advises telecommuting hopefuls to seek out employers with established telework programs. Certain jobs and industries are more prone to this arrangement, and some of them pay really well. Here are seven stay-home jobs with standout salaries.
More than ever, big companies are farming out their sales forces. But instead of jobs going overseas, they're going to the suburbs. According to the BLS, one in five sales reps telecommute. The highest paying sales jobs usually involve technical and scientific products. These sales jobs are more likely to require a bachelor's degree. Studying marketing, business, or communications can be excellent preparation for this line of work.
Stay-Home Salary: $68,270
Financial analysts help large companies and non-profit organizations figure out how, when, and where to invest their money. Often employed by investment banks, mutual funds, and insurance companies, the independent nature of the work lends itself to working from the home office. You'll need a bachelor's degree in finance, business administration, economics, or accounting to get in on the ground floor.
Stay-Home Salary: $70,400
Personal Financial Advisors
This is another high finance, home-office profession. Instead of working with large endowments, personal financial advisors help individuals manage their money, protect their assets, and plan for retirement. Financial advisors work for financial services firms or investment and planning firms. A minimum of a bachelor's degree in finance, business administration, or accounting is required.
Stay-Home Salary: $67,660
Two career paths that are particularly well suited to telecommuting are graphic design and computing. These career paths intersect for the job of Web developers, also called Web designers. These creative techies craft a Web site's look and make sure it functions. Most employers are looking for a bachelor's degree, and many schools offer programs specifically in Web site design.
Stay-Home Salary: $47,000 to $71,500
These tech-savvy telecommuters design and develop commuter applications. Therefore, they need to be well versed in programming languages as well as operating systems. A bachelor's degree in computer science or software engineering is required, but your education is likely to pay off. The BLS predicts 38 percent growth through 2016, making this one of the nation's fastest growing occupations.
Stay-Home Salary: $83,130
Accounting is all about keeping the fiscal house in order--paying taxes, reporting earnings, analyzing budgets, and guiding investments. The individual nature of the work allows many accountants to routinely work from home. Certification and a degree in accounting are typical job requirements.
Stay-Home Salary: $57,060
Managers (in any department) are more likely to regularly work from home. Marketing managers may find creativity blooms with the freedom of the home office. Increasingly, a master's degree in business administration is becoming the norm for marketing managers, though a good track record and a bachelor's degree may suffice.
Stay-Home Salary: $104,400
The Truth Behind the Telecommute
Technically, to be considered a telecommuter you must regularly works eight or more paid hours at home each week. Telecommuting can cut down on a killer commute or carve out more time for the kids. It can help you find a better work-life balance. But let's be clear--there are a few things telecommuting is not designed for.
- It is not a substitute for child care. Imagine trying to hold a conference call while entertaining your two-year-old.
- It is not for the recluse. The key to successful telecommuting is communication, particularly with your supervisors.
- It is not entry-level workers. According to the BLS Occupational Outlook Quarterly, it is far more effective for employees to make a case for telecommuting after proving their value.
Working at home can help you save on skyrocketing gas prices, but it makes financial sense for your employer, too. A study done for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas showed telecommuters earning $44,000 a year saved their company an average of $10,000. And, telecommuting options improve morale, productivity, and worker retention.