There’s never been a better time to work from home. Half of all workers in the U.S. have jobs that could be accomplished via telecommuting, and the number of employees who telecommute has grown by 103 percent since 2005.
“Telecommuting is popular because it alleviates or eliminates many of the pain points people associate with work,” says Kristin Thomas, director of employer outreach at FlexJobs and Remote.co. “It’s not that people don’t like work — they just don’t like some of the stress, frustration, and annoyance that comes from working in a typical office setting.”
The Best Places to Be a Telecommuter
If 2015 is the perfect year to become a telecommuter, where’s the best place to be a telecommuter?
Admittedly, that may seem like an odd question, given that the whole idea of telecommuting is that a job can be done from anywhere. However, a recent infographic from FlexJobs points out that telecommuting is more popular in some states than in others.
The infographic ranks all 50 states and Washington, D.C., according to the percentage of full-time telecommuters in each area’s workforce. You’ll want to check the full list to see where your home stands — unless you’re lucky enough to be living in one of the top 10 states:
- Montana – 7.1 percent of the workforce telecommutes full time
- Vermont – 7.1 percent
- Colorado – 6.5 percent
- Oregon – 6.4 percent
- Idaho – 6.2 percent
- New Hampshire – 6.0 percent
- Arizona – 5.7 percent
- South Dakota – 5.5 percent
- Utah – 5.5 percent
- Washington – 5.5 percent
“When people think of telecommuting, they think of high-tech professionals and Silicon Valley, but the opposite is actually closer to the truth,” says Thomas. “For people who live in rural locations or communities that have been slow to recover since the recession, working from home opens them to many job opportunities they [couldn't otherwise] find in their current locations.”
That’s not to say that the top 10 states for telecommuters are all economically depressed areas where workers are forced to telecommute because no opportunities exist locally. In fact, Thomas points out that some of these states “actively encourage people to find telecommuting jobs.”
“Montana, the No. 1 state for telecommuters in 2015, has been running an active campaign asking people to ‘Come home to Montana — and bring your job with you!’” Thomas says. “It appears the campaign has been working: in 2013, Montana was only No. 4!”
You Don’t Need to Move to Find a Telecommuting Job
These 10 states may be the places where telecommuting is most popular, but you don’t have to actually “come home to Montana” to land a telecommuting job. There are plenty of work-from-home opportunities out there, no matter where you live. You just need to know how to find them.
“Know that looking for telecommuting or remote work is very similar to a traditional job search,” Thomas says. “You’ll need to do your research, put together tailored, interesting resumes and cover letters, and apply for job listings.”
Thomas stresses the importance of using the right keywords when you’re searching for telecommuting jobs. Phrases like “telecommuting,” “remote job,” “virtual job,” “home office,” and “distributed team” will help you zero in on the right opportunities — but Thomas warns against using the phrase “work from home” in your job search.
“That is actually a phrase commonly used by scammers,” Thomas says.
What’s Your Industry?
Thomas also suggests that job seekers familiarize themselves with the industries that offer the most remote work opportunities. That list includes the medical and health fields, IT, sales, customer service, marketing, writing, and accounting, among others.
Common job titles used for remote positions include “consultant,” “customer service representative,” “account executive,” “case manager,” “writer,” “graphic designer,” “systems analyst,” and “software developer.”
That being said, Thomas notes that it’s possible to find telecommuting roles in almost every industry. Telecommuting may be more common in the fields listed above, but that doesn’t mean you should assume there are no remote work possibilities in your field. Get searching!
Ask Your Network for Help
The vast majority of jobs get snapped up through networking, and telecommuting roles are no different.
“Utilize your network,” Thomas says. “You’ll be surprised how many people you already know are telecommuting 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.”