How to Find a Work-From-Home Job That Pays (Or Make Your Current Job One)
I've always felt fortunate to be able to do this, as not every job can be done outside of the office and not every boss is quite as accommodating as mine were. However, recent research suggests that telecommuting's popularity is surging: According to statistics from Global Workplace Analytics, there are currently 2.9 million telecommuters in the U.S -- a 66% increase over just seven years.
The benefits to working from home are many. Aside from having the flexibility to pick your kids up from school or check on your elderly parents (if they live nearby), there is a tremendous savings factor. Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, developed this personal savings calculator, told me that cutting back on a 30-mile round-trip commute and working from home just one day a week could save someone $794 per year. Cutting back on that commute five days a week could save a person over $5,000 per year. (Give it a whirl for yourself to see how much money you could save.)
So why aren't more people working from home? For those with jobs, it's a matter of making a good case to your boss (more on that in a bit). But for those who are out of work and looking for a telecommuting job, it comes down to one word: scams. "There are an average of 70 [work at home] scams to one real job," says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs.com. "I was really shocked at how many scams there are."
The good news is there are ways to cut through all the cons and find something legitimate. Here's what you should do:
• Be wary of any email addresses you see in a suspicious job posting, too. "If the company name is hidden, or you're asked to send your resume to a Hotmail or Gmail address, why are they not sending you to a dot-company address?" asks Fell.
• Use a reputable resource. Particularly good websites include Undress4Success.com, WorkOptions.com and FlexJobs.com. FlexJobs.com actually researches and screens job postings, so it's your best bet for finding a legitimate opportunity. They do charge a small monthly fee, but you can find jobs in a wide range of specialties and types. For example, on the site now are posts for an events coordinator for the Parkinson Foundation of the National Capital Area (a full time telecommuting job), a technical support advisor (a part-time telecommuting job) and freelance marketing director position for an e-commerce company.
-- With Maggie McGrath