Skip to main contentA logo with &quat;the muse&quat; in dark blue text.
Advice / Job Search / Finding a Job

5 Surprising Work-from-Home Gigs

Ever wonder, “Working from home—is it all that?” Having telecommuted personally for more than three years over the course of two jobs, I can answer that question: Yes, it definitely is.

For starters, not having to get ready for work every day cuts back on my morning routine by a landslide. I don’t waste an hour of every morning and every evening commuting, and each day, when I start work, I start: no water cooler talk, just sitting down to get checklist items done so I have a little more me time later.

I'm in Marketing and PR, but whatever field you’re in, it’s worth asking: Could you make your job home-based, too? It depends on what you do, of course, but considering that 50+ career fields now have positions that offer job flexibility, it’s likely that working from home is actually an option. In fact, Telework Research Network recently reported that “45% of the U.S. workforce holds a job that is suitable for part-time or full-time telecommuting.”

Of course, there are the more traditional work-from-home gigs—like writing, computer programming, or graphic design—but many more (surprising!) positions are available as well. Here’s a sampling of what’s currently on the market.

Medical & Health Jobs

What may seem like a field that requires showing up in the hospital or doctor’s office every day actually has several positions that can be done (mostly) from home. Depending on the position, you can manage patient charts, monitor patient progress, and provide many other health-related job duties without leaving the house. Many nursing jobs, for example, require travel to actually care for patients, but allow you to work from home to develop plans of care, interview patients, and put together educational programs.

Also check out gigs like Dietary Technician at Healthfirst and Field Medical and Disability Case Manager at Liberty Mutual Group. Perhaps the most surprising? I recently saw a job posting for a neurosurgeon who would work from home, then fly to different locales on surgery day.

Environmental Jobs

Want a win-win combo of helping the world be a bit greener while earning income from home? Plenty of environmental companies are allowing their employees to work from home, thanks to the big benefits such as cutting back on commuter congestion. (During a Cisco-sponsored National Telework Week, over 70,000 employees worked from home, and an estimated 6.9 million pounds of pollutants were reduced.)

Positions include everything from research jobs (like an Aquatic Ecologist at URS) to Legal Counsel at What's Your Impact, to a Topic Writer on hydroponics.

Entertainment & Media

Though it might not shock you that you can blog or write from home, the companies that will pay you to do so may: Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Harley-Davidson, and major greeting card companies all have opportunities for offsite writers. Why? Considering that writers generally need only a computer and Internet access, companies can save on overhead, including real estate and energy costs, by allowing these jobs to be done from home.

Positions range from Blogger and Account Executive to Independent Filmmaker and Video Producer, and can be freelance, part-time, or even full-time telecommuting.

Government & Politics

Sure, it may be an election year, but work-from-home government jobs are available no matter who’s in the Oval Office. The IRS, for example, recently closed several offices, allowing employees to work from home to cut back on costs. The variety of work-from-home government positions now is huge, from the educational, such as Military Studies at American Public University System, to the more strategic, like an Election 2012 Mobilization Director for The most surprising gig? A NATO Special Operations Forces Air Subject Matter Expert at Science Applications International Corporation.

Executive Management

Many companies today know that the top talent is often seeking more flexibility in their careers. As a result, it’s very common to see openings for top-level positions—think President, Vice President, CEO, or CFO—at non-profits and small companies that allow working from home (at least part of the time). Check out recent openings including Vice President of Management Accounting at American Institute of CPAs, Vice President Business Development at Outsell, Inc., and Chief Executive Officer of Disability Network Michigan.

If the majority of your job involves working on the computer, it’s likely it can be done from home. So, if you’re on the job hunt, consider seeking out companies that are hiring telecommuters. Your ideal job work-from-home job might be just around the corner.

Photo of working from home courtesy of Shutterstock.