Telecommuting is more popular than ever. But to land a telecommuting job, you’ll need to communicate the right attitude and credentials to employers.
Depending on how you define the term “telecommuting” the number of work-from-home employees in the U.S. varies from 3 million to 75 million individuals. Although not all telecommuters work from home on a full-time basis, increasing percentages of office-based workers spend at least part of their work weeks in a home office setting.
The preference for telecommuting jobs hasn’t gone unnoticed by employers. In fact, employers may actually be driving the trend since it has been estimated that the average firm can save as much as $20k every year for each full-time, work-from-home employee. Some studies even indicate that telecommuting employees are significantly more productive than their cubicle- or office-based peers.
Yet despite the financial and performance incentives associated with telecommuting work scenarios, employers are keenly aware of the fact that some employees simply aren’t wired to work from home. To be successful, telecommuters need to be extremely disciplined and self-motivated professionals, capable of delivering high quality outcomes without someone looking over their shoulder.
Jobseekers who are interested in work-from-home opportunities need to tailor their job search strategy to highlight the traits employers look for in telecommuters, assuring the employer that a job offer will result in a win-win for the company and the candidate.
Ideally, employers prefer to hire individuals who have a successful track record in telecommuting. For many hiring managers, the desire to work from home isn’t enough. They need to know that you can handle the demands of an independent work environment – even if telecommuting or working from home only represents a portion of your current or previous work experience.
Nothing speaks louder to employers than results and hard numbers. If you can produce quantified outcomes for your work-from-home activities (e.g. number of sales closed, business growth percentages, etc.), you will be way ahead of the game in convincing employers that you’re a good fit for a telecommuting position in their companies.
Telecommuting sounds like a great option for many employees. But when the rubber meets the road, many workers are forced to admit that they lack the self-discipline to perform their job while surrounded by the distractions of their personal life. Reinforce your resume and interviews with solid examples of the ways you have demonstrated self-discipline and self-motivation in your work life.
In many ways, technology is a driving force in the work-from-home movement. Rather than having to travel long distances for meetings, today’s workers use Skype, teleconferencing and other tools to remotely communicate with coworkers and clients. Prospective telecommuters need to communicate familiarity with remote work technologies and be prepared to discuss how they have used them in real life situations.