Telecommuting is becoming the new normal for a larger share of workers. As of 2016, 60% of organizations offered telecommuting benefits to employees, up from 20% in 1996. More than 51% of workers polled in a 2016 FlexJobs survey chose their home as their preferred place to work, while only 7% said they’d rather be at the office when they need a productivity boost.
A new survey from FlexJobs reveals which states offer the most opportunities for employees to telecommute. Despite allowing workers to log time on the clock remotely, location still matters if your employer requires things such as in-person training or the occasional face-to-face meeting. If you’re interested in pursuing a telecommuting career in 2017 and beyond, keep reading to learn which states offer the best prospects. (For more, see Top 4 Financial Jobs You Can Do From Home.)
Telecommuting: Where the Jobs Are
To identify the 15 states that rated best for telecommuting, FlexJobs examined its online job listings to see which had the highest number of remote jobs listed in 2016. The final list reflects the states that had the most frequent listings for telecommuting jobs with state-specific criteria. In other words, candidates had the option of working remotely, but they had to be located in a specific place. Here are the cities that ranked the best overall for telecommuting:
- New York
- North Carolina
- New Jersey
It’s not surprising that California takes the top spot. From 2015 to 2016 California added 5,139 new telecommuting jobs, according to a study from Virtual Vocations. Approximately 14,949 telecommuting jobs were added in the information technology sector during the first half of 2016. Overall, tech is the top telecommuting industry. When you consider that California is one of the largest tech employers in the country, with San Jose and San Francisco leading the charge, it’s logical that California would have a sizable share of the workforce performing their jobs remotely.
Overall, these states are an interesting mix in terms of their geography and the industries that drive their economy. Georgia, for example, is a southern state primarily known for agriculture, but a diverse selection of other industries also makes Georgia their home, including aerospace, financial services, information technology, transportation and manufacturing. Meanwhile, across the country you’ve got Colorado, which ranks as the top state for private aerospace employment, third for its concentration of high-tech workers and fourth in the nation for startup activity.
While these states differ in terms of location, they share a common thread when it comes to tech. According to CompTIA’s 2016 Cyberstates report, California, New York, Texas, Massachusetts and Florida had the most tech sector job gains from 2014 to 2015. Those first four, with the addition of Virginia, had the largest payrolls for tech workers. All these states made it onto the FlexJobs rankings for telecommuting, which makes sense, as tech seems to lead the way for remote job openings.
Tech isn’t the only industry in which telecommuting is catching on, however. According to FlexJobs, other industries that are ramping up opportunities for employees to work from home include:
- Medical and Healthcare
- Customer Service
- Education and Training
The takeaway? If you’re interested in making telecommuting part of your work routine, some industries may be more amenable to that possibility than others. Keep in mind, however, that just because a job offers telecommuting capabilities doesn’t meant that you can work from anywhere. You may have to live in a certain region or area to snag a remote position. (For more, see 20 Flexible Jobs with High Growth Potential for 2017.)
The Bottom Line
Working from home certainly has its perks, but it may not be right for everyone. If you’re considering pursuing a telecommuting job, be sure that you understand what the work involves. Also, think about how your at-home routine may differ from your regular nine to five. Making the transition from toiling in an office to working in your living room may mean some lifestyle adjustments, so it’s helpful to know what to expect before you jump on the telecommuting bandwagon. (For more, see The Ultimate Working From Home Guide.)