Is working from home common enough for you to find a job in your field?
Parents know juggling children's sports, school and appointments plus a commute isn't easy. What if you could have a more flexible job or work from home exclusively? Many occupations have some of the best work from home jobs -- it just depends on what you're looking for.
Emma Plumb, director of 1 Million for Work Flexibility says, "Managing a traditional nine-to-five office job and the needs of children can often be better managed through a variety of flexible options, including telecommuting, alternative commute schedules or compressed work weeks."
While some jobs require going to an office (surgery can't be done from your kitchen), more sedentary, web-based jobs could be done from a home office. "One common myth is that telecommuting positions are all lower-level, lower-skill jobs, but that's not the case. There are executive level telecommuting jobs, such as medical director or vice president of research available," says Sara Sutton Fell, the CEO and founder of FlexJobs.
If you're interested in working from home, see if your job makes the list of best work from home jobs below:
For authors, freelancers and journalists, telecommuting makes sense as long as you have a writing instrument (pen or computer). "Although writers often work from home, they're still dependent on others for editing and content discovery. This is ideal since telecommuting can be a lonely venture," says Elaine Quinn, a writer and consultant who literally wrote the book on telecommuting ("There's No Place Like Working from Home") and is known as The Solopreneur Specialist.
There are many online tutoring services as well as high schools, colleges and universities hiring remote tutors for students. As long as your brain is working, it doesn't need to be in the same room as the student.
- Medical Transcriptionist
Listening to a doctor's notes and turning them into readable text takes concentration and a quiet environment. Doing this job without the noise and hum of an office (or hospital) lends itself nicely to working from home.
Like the writers, editors need little beyond a laptop, Wi-Fi and a way to communicate with writers and fellow editors.
- Quality Assurance Analyst
Testing products to ensure they meet specific standards of reliability and functionality doesn't require on-site work. Products you can test range from engineering specs to software and web code.
You don't have to be in a different country to translate its language. As with most of these jobs, translating is a solitary job that needs a computer, a dictionary and telecommunication capabilities.
- Web Developer/Programmer
Sean Zetts, senior information technology recruiter and president of Riverside Recruiting, understands web developers need minimal office time. "Some companies allow programmers to work from home on coding days and requires them to come in for group meeting days."
- Customer Service Representative
Companies are learning there's no reason to have a bank full of employees in one location to support customers. Also, having people in various locations can make complaining customers feel more connected to the person behind the voice.
- Virtual Assistant (VA)
Many executives, startups and entrepreneurs hire virtual assistants for scheduling, travel and event planning along with a slew of other tasks. Often executives end up asking VA to help with household tasks too, so a strong professional relationship can be built.
- Human Resource Manager
Directing a company's hiring, insurance and HR processes is an important job, but could be done easily from home (though you may want to show your face sometimes so employees feel comfortable coming to you with issues).
The best chance to score work from home jobs is to look for Internet or administrative-type jobs. Work from home jobs generally involve work that isn't collaborative and includes reporting to one or two people instead of attending meetings. Also it helps if it doesn't matter the exact hours and time frame you work.
To telecommute, you'll need at least a quiet place to work away from children, plus access to ample technology. Some jobs necessitate a certain part of the workday remain open for video or conference calls but often allow you to work whenever you're available before or after. This sort of flexible scheduling frees up your time to pick up kids from school, attend evening activities and have dinner together -- plus avoid the commute!
And check out these 10 Work-Life Balance Tips for Working Parents.
Maureen Wise is a parenting and green living freelance writer based outside of Cleveland, Ohio. Her work can be found at Care.com, Tom's of Maine's Good Matters Blog, Piccolo Universe, EcoWatch and others.