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Remote Work Is All the Rage! Is It Right for You?

By InHerSight News – Updated Apr 12, 2018 at 8:50AM

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Three traits that make for great telecommuters.

When an article popped up in my LinkedIn feed today describing remote work as "the dream job that's all the rage across America," it got my attention. I work at a company where every day we're focused on helping women find their "dream jobs" by matching them with companies and opportunities that have what they are looking for -- which means a lot of different things to a lot of different women.

In fact, recognizing and reflecting women's unique needs, goals, and definitions of success is a cornerstone of our platform here at InHerSight. If you're a woman in tech in San Francisco looking for a company with upward mobility and women in leadership, we can help you find it. Or if you're a woman in DC looking for a consulting firm that excels in its support for working moms, we can help you find that, too. We can help you find any combination of the 15 different factors women rate at InHerSight (think Glassdoor for women), including the ability to telecommute. So I was curious to see just how important the ability to telecommute is to the hundreds of thousands of women in the InHerSight network.

What I found is that the ability to telecommute becomes more important to women as they advance in their careers. More than 50% of mid-level, senior, and executive women in our network select the ability to telecommute as one of their "must-haves." On the other hand, just 33% of beginner and early career professionals select telecommuting as something they are looking for. Naturally, we see a similar progression in the importance of telecommuting to women as they increase in age, with nearly 75% of women over the age of 35 identifying the ability to telecommute as a core requirement from their next workplace.

Woman in home office sitting in front of a computer and petting her dog who is sitting on the desk next to the computer.

Image source: Getty Images.

These findings mirror those from the 2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce report from FlexJobs and the Global Workplace Analytics that found that the average telecommuter is 46 years old.

Remote work doesn't send your work to a distant location

Having the ability to work remotely is a pretty sweet option. It can save you from a miserable commute. It can foster long, uninterrupted periods of "groove" working. It can even help you lead a healthier, more balanced life, so the experts say. In my case, it includes unlimited access to ample Family Size boxes of delicious, sugary cereals. So clearly it's a win.

But the truth is, it's not for everyone. Working from home requires a fair amount of the following:

1. Self-direction and internal motivation. If someone has told you you have an entrepreneurial spirit, for example, you might make a good telecommuter. That's because, for better or worse, you're completely responsible for managing your time and staying on track.

2. Love for technology. Yes, your company's IT team will likely be able to help you troubleshoot a lot of issues over the phone, but remote workers these days are using Slack, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Trello, and many more tech-enabled productivity and communication tools that you're on the hook for having a seamless connection to (and many of which you should be camera-ready for).

3. A spirit of reaching out. When you work remotely, there's a good chance you're not going to get the inbound attention, feedback, or communication that you get in an office setting. It's really important to feel comfortable initiating those interactions.

It's also true that remote work isn't for every company. Just 170 companies in the US operate 100% virtually, though there are lots of companies out there with great remote work options. You can find the companies that walk the talk on telecommuting -- companies like Dell, Hubspot, Salesforce, Ericsson, and many more -- on inhersight.com.

This article originally appeared on InHerSight.com.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. In Her Sight has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and HubSpot. The Motley Fool recommends Salesforce.com. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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