As you might have noticed among your own friends and acquaintances, the number of people working from home has grown quite a lot in recent years.
Analysis of the latest U.S. Census data by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics finds that the number of people working from home, also called working remotely or telecommuting, has increased 159% between 2005 and 2017.
Even more interesting are the details about who, when, where, and what people are doing in the remote work space.
In this overview, you’ll learn about who’s working remotely, the most common types of remote jobs, and the top companies that hire remote workers. We’ll end by discussing how you can work from home, too.
First, let’s look at who is working remotely.
The 159% increase in remote workers since 2005 measures employees who work from home at least half-time, which is about 4.7 million people in the U.S., up from 3.9 million in 2015.
This doesn’t even include the number of employees working remotely less than half-time, people with a remote side hustle, freelancers who work from home, or solo business owners. The truth is that the number of people who work remotely is much larger than 3.9 million.
Assumption: It’s often thought that remote workers are mostly young digital nomads working for start-up companies, and usually making less money than in an office job. But the truth is far from that.
Reality: The average remote worker is 46 years or older, has at least a bachelor’s degree, and earns a higher median salary than an in-office worker, according to the 2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. report which is also based on U.S. Census data.
Remote work is more common among employees over 35 years of age and most common among baby boomers.
And as further proof of remote work’s growth, the report found that in more than half of the top U.S. metro areas telecommuting exceeds public transportation as the commute option of choice. It has grown far faster than any other commute mode.
In some cases, the types of jobs that allow people to work from home are what you might expect, but there are some surprising fields offering remote work as well.
The top career fields for remote work, based on the data from tens of thousands of FlexJobs job postings in over 55 career fields, are:
And these are only seven out of 55 career fields reporting remote job listings, so there are definitely many opportunities outside of these top fields.
What specific types of jobs can be done from home? There’s a huge variety of jobs you can do remotely, but these are some of the most common job titles offering remote work options:
These include both employee and freelance roles, and offer full-time or part-time schedules and other flexible work options.
When looking for remote work, one important thing to keep in mind is that scams are unfortunately prevalent in the work-from-home job space. Job-Hunt’s list of five major types of online job scams is a good place to learn more so you can steer clear and find legitimate opportunities.
As you might expect by now, the types of companies that hire people to work remotely are just as varied as the jobs that can be done this way. FlexJobs compiles an annual list of the Top 100 Companies for Remote Jobs out of over 50,000 companies.
The 2019 list includes companies from 18 different industries headquartered in 10 different countries worldwide. Here are the top 20:
Other well-known organizations on the Top 100 list include Hilton, the Commonwealth of Virginia, SAP, ADP, U.S. Department of Commerce, Cisco, Salesforce, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, CVS Health, American Express, and Johnson & Johnson. Rounding out the top 100 are many other companies large and small.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably wondering whether you could work from home (if you’re not already working that way).
For anyone who wonders whether his or her current job can be done from home, evaluate your situation by answering these questions:
Hopefully, you could do your current job from home. But, if you might need a change...
If you’re looking for a new job that lets you work remotely, here’s how to start your search:
If you’re considering working from home, do some research, find out companies’ policies, and develop a plan to land the right remote job for you.
Remote work has made the transition from a nice perk to a standard way of working. Working from home is becoming increasingly popular with no signs that the popularity will decline in the near future. Considering the options available -- working as a "remote" or "telecommuting" employee, as an independent contractor with clients, or as a business owner running a business --the growth in working from home is much more likely to grow as time passes.
Brie Weiler Reynolds is the Senior Career Specialist and Career Coach at FlexJobs.com. FlexJobs is the award-winning site for telecommuting and flexible jobs, listing thousands of pre-screened, legitimate, and professional-level work-from-home, flexible schedule, part-time, and freelance jobs. Brie and her colleagues provide career coaching and resume reviews through the FlexJobs Career Coaching program. Find Brie on LinkedIn and follow @briewreynolds on Twitter.