Whenever the topic of flexible work arrangements or work-life balance comes up, telecommuting is one of the first ideas that comes up. Fortunately for dedicated employees who just want a job where the commute doesn’t drive them to distraction, more companies today are coming around to the idea that telecommuting is a good option to offer, according to FlexJobs.com, a job search site that focuses on flexible positions, including ones that permit telecommuting.
And it’s not just worker bees who can reap the benefits. FlexJobs found that there are executive-level options for department heads, vice presidents and even C-level bosses who are sick of battling rush-hour traffic and compiled a list of 15 of the best. Not surprisingly, jobs in consulting and technology — where much of the work is conducted remotely anyway — turn up, but there are also jobs in healthcare, education and even the nonprofit sector that extend telecommuting benefits. Positions in sales, finance or HR also can provide opportunity for telecommuting.
“I think something that will surprise job candidates looking for executive-level telecommuting jobs is the number of large and well-known employers offering them,” says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs. “Companies of all sizes hire for telecommuting jobs even at the highest levels of leadership,” she says.
For instance, there’s an academic employer looking for a director of research is happy to have a full-time telecommuter step into the role, and a big national firm is looking to fill a senior vice president of managed travel position that will require logging plenty of frequent-flier miles but can otherwise be performed from home.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that only low-level positions are eligible for telecommuting. “A typical telecommuter is 49 years old, college educated, and in a management or professional role,” FlexJobs says. One vice president of consulting gig wants candidates with 15 years experience — at minimum. A VP-level sales job requires 10 years of management experience, plus another decade focusing specifically on project management. And even though working from home means saving on gas, parking and/or public transportation tickets, these jobs don’t pay peanuts. FlexJobs says three-quarters of people who work from home pull down $65,000 a year or more.
Not only does letting people work from home let companies extend their talent search beyond driving distance of the office, but there’s a growing pile of research that suggests people are both happier and more productive when they have the option to lead conference calls in a bathrobe at least part of the time.
But if you think there might be perks to working in your PJs, you might need to make your case during an interview, Fell says. If a job ad says telecommuting is limited or available on a case-by-case basis, “The job candidate should prepare him or herself to make a case as to why they’re both an excellent fit for the job, and an excellent fit for telecommuting as well,” Fell says. And if you score a job where you’re trading in your briefcase for bunny slippers, the lack of face-to-face interaction also puts the onus on you to be proactive and straightforward in their communication style, she adds. “Job candidates who are interested in working remotely need to hone their communication skills [and] their ability to set goals for themselves and their teams.”