If it seems like more of the people you know are working from home, even occasionally, you’re correct. Remote work, also called telecommuting, working from home, and virtual work, is on the rise in the U.S. and around the world.
Remote work exceeds public transportation as the commute option of choice in more than half of the top U.S. metro areas.
And remote work has grown far faster than any other commute mode. As of 2017, 43% of U.S. workers now work remotely at least occasionally, up from only, at the most, 9% of workers in 2007.
Why Remote Work Is on the Rise
Several trends over the last 10 years have pushed remote work forward. And within the last several years, it’s gone from being seen as a “nice-to-have” perk for professionals to being thought of as a standard way of working for millions of people.
Those trends include:
- The rise of the knowledge economy and jobs that are done primarily with computers, phones, and other Internet-connected devices.
- The increasing availability of high-speed Internet, allowing people to work from anywhere.
- The growth of millennials in the workplace, and specifically into management roles where they have more control over when, where, and how both they and their teams are working.
- An increasing number of companies willing to discuss the benefits of their remote work programs.
Where Remote Work Thrives: Companies, Career Fields, and States
That last trend—companies discussing the benefits of remote work—is seen in the annual list of the “100 Top Companies with Remote Jobs,” compiled by the online remote and flexible job service FlexJobs.
In 2018, well-known companies like UnitedHealth Group, Dell, Hilton, Xerox, JPMorgan Chase, Williams-Sonoma, Humana, and dozens of other companies have been recognized for their commitment to remote work.
According to the jobs posted by these companies, the top career fields for remote work are medical and health, computer and IT, education and training, sales, customer service, accounting and finance, and travel and hospitality. However, this trend is also extending to other professions such as real estate agents.
Along with pinpointing which companies offered the most remote jobs over the last year, FlexJobs has also analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau to find out which U.S. states have the most remote workers.
Of note in the top 10 states, whose rankings changed little since 2013, New Hampshire moved up from number 8 to number 5 because of an almost 13% increase in telecommuting.
Outside of the top 10 states, Wyoming had the largest increase in telecommuting in the last three years, with almost 30% more telecommuters in 2016 than 2013, which moved the state from 38 on the list to 19.
Rhode Island experienced a 19.4% increase in telecommuting, and other locations with fast-growing telecommuting populations include the District of Columbia (up 18.2%), Delaware (up 16.2%), Alabama (up 16%), Mississippi (up 15.8%), and Arkansas (up 14.3%).
Finding Your Own Remote Job
If remote work isn’t in the works at your current place of employment, the good news is that the remote job market is much like the overall job market: it’s offering a lot of opportunity.
Here are some quick tips to start your own search for a remote job:
Use the right keywords to search job websites and search engines.
In searching for remote jobs online, you’re going to find a lot of scams.
If you want to work from home, use keywords like “telecommute job,” “remote job,” “distributed team,” and “virtual job.”
Avoid phrases that scammers use, specifically “work from home” and “work at home.”
Update your resume and online profiles to include skills and tools related to remote work.
Write about your remote job-friendly skills, such as working independently, time management, written and verbal communication skills, troubleshooting technical issues, and being proactive with questions and ideas.
Include a list of remote-specific technology you’re familiar with, such as IM programs (Slack, Google Chat), file sharing (Dropbox), document collaboration (Google Drive), video conferencing (join.me, GoToMeeting, Skype), and other remote collaboration tools.
Utilize your network.
Once you start asking, you may be surprised by how many people you know who are working remotely at least part of the time.
Reach out to your professional network to find out who’s already working from home, how they got there, and what their tips are for you to find the same type of work arrangement.
Finally, it’s important to practice being a remote worker, even if you’re not officially “allowed” to work remotely yet. Try doing some work or projects at home outside your regular office hours. If you can’t get to the office because of inclement weather or traffic problems, ask to work remotely.
Use these “practice sessions” as a way to hone your remote work skills and to showcase your productivity and efficiency as a remote worker!
About The Author
This is a guest post by Brie, Senior Career Specialist at FlexJobs.