Does being a stay-at-home parent mean never having the job of your dreams?
Hardly. Thanks to improved technologies and employers’ more relaxed attitudes about telecommuting, working at home in a rewarding career and being there for your kids is not only possible — it’s highly doable.
That’s the opinion of Jeremy Anderson, director of client services at FlexJobs.com, an online job services provider. Anderson not only analyzes good jobs for a living, he also works at home while taking care of his kids.
”I'm often surprised by some of the jobs that come through that allow you to work from home or have part-time hours or other accommodating arrangements,” Anderson says. “For example, a couple of times I've seen positions for neurosurgeons! One was more of a consulting job and the other actually did on-call operations but could work out of their home in between surgeries.”
Anderson can attest to the time saved on commutes. Before working from home, Anderson faced a work commute of 45 minutes each way, which he notes is 7.5 hours per week and 375 hours per year. “That is a lot of time! It’s liberating to ditch the commute,” he says.
”Before I had my job, I thought it was a pipe dream to be able to find a professional job that had flexibility, let alone jobs you could do from home, but there are so many opportunities out there that I think many people don't realize,” he says.
He listed some work-from-home job titles he thought would be surprising to many:
- CEO/executive director
- Tech adviser
- County transportation planner
- Director of global advertising
- Director of strategic accounts
- Grant writer and manager
- K-12 teacher
- Online fitness coach
- Project manager
- RN coach
- Senior trial attorney
Anderson had advice on how to find work-at-home jobs:
"If there is a particular company you are interested in, check its website for openings. Flexible job options are becoming more common as companies save companies money on overhead, turnover — and studies, including one conducted by Stanford show that people are more productive without office distractions. For those currently working, propose a plan to your boss. Let them know how you will track your productivity and ask for a trial run."
If you are straight-up looking for a job that has flexibility, set up Google alerts for the position and type of flexibility in which you are interested; let others know that you are looking, because you never know who may know of an opportunity. Be active on LinkedIn and research companies who offer job flexibility. Of course I also recommend joining FlexJobs, with our staff researching jobs that offer flexibility as they come up and weeding out potential scams along the way to offer legitimate, scam-free professional-level flexible jobs. If FlexJobs isn't for you, just be careful in your search, as there are 60 scams to everyone legitimate job.
On working from home and spending time with kids during the day:
"Working from home is even more important and impactful as your kids get older. In middle school, most school events take place right after school, at 3 in the afternoon. Because I work from home I’m able to drop by after school for a cross-country meet or pick up my daughter when it’s snowing. It’s so important to be around when kids get home from school — so many go home to empty houses with no supervision. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with my kids happen right after school, because whatever happened that day is still fresh in their mind. If it’s three hours later at the dinner table, they will have either forgotten or decided they didn’t want to talk about it. I’ve been able to volunteer in the classroom, getting to know their teachers and friends. I was able to pick up my daughter when she developed a migraine at school within 15 minutes, instead of the hour or two it would have taken if I had commuted to an office. Because I work from home, I’ve able to coach my daughters’ softball team, when practice starts at 5 p.m."
Balance and time management are key. Working at home gives you the flexibility to schedule your day that a traditional office job does not allow. Instead of a pre-dawn run in the snow and cold, I can get up early, work for a few hours, then go for a mid-morning run once the sun is up. I’ve run three marathons and over 20 half marathons in the past five years. Without a flexible job, I could never have been able to reach these personal goals.