Durst, whose company Staffcentrix develops home-based and virtual career training programs, says people interested in work-at-home jobs primarily are:
- Parents who say they want to spend more time with their children
- Trailing military spouses who, according to Durst, by virtue of their spouse’s career need to pick up and move every few years
- Retirees needing supplemental income
- People with disabilities
It’s difficult to be a good parent and simultaneously work well at home, says Durst, because most jobs require blocks of uninterrupted time to accomplish tasks, and children’s schedules are less than predictable. For those who do choose to walk the tightrope between paid work and parenting, consider deadline-oriented work. Durst says it’s generally better for those with younger children than schedule-oriented hourly work.
Steven Rothberg, president and founder of CollegeRecruiter.com, says “an increasing minority” of entry-level workers, are attracted to these gigs. He says he believes social introverts make good candidates. “They like working with people (but) they like interacting by email and by being on the phone. They dislike working in person with a lot of others,” he says, because of meetings and other “time-sucking problems” at an office.
Self-motivation, discipline, job skills and independence are key characteristics for at-home workers, says Stephanie Foster, a former medical transcriptionist who runs the website HomeWithTheKids.com.
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A growing number of employers appear to believe telecommuting is a good deal for them as well. It reduces overhead expenses, allows access to talented workers who may not be available locally, provides off-hours support and helps retain employees, says Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs.com, a website that aggregates hand-screened telecommuting/work-at-home jobs. “We’ve seen a real broadening of the audience of both employers and job seekers.”