he number of employees who work from home has been escalating for well over a decade. If you would like a job that allows you to work from home at least part time, there are plenty of opportunities to find one.

A recent analysis by Global Workplace Analytics revealed some impressive trends in telecommuting. The company looked at the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data collected from 2005-2018 and reported some key findings:

  • Telecommuting has grown by a blockbuster 173 percent among workers who are not self-employed.
  • 50 percent of the U.S. workforce has a job that is conducive to at least part-time telecommuting and approximately 40 percent of the workforce works remotely at times.
  • 75 percent of employees who work from home earn over $65,000 per year, which puts them in the upper 80th percentile for wages among all employees, whether telecommuters or office-based.

Working from home has benefits for both workers and employers. Previous studies by Global Workplace Analytics have shown that telecommuting saves employers and workers time and money, reduces stress, increases productivity, lowers exposure to office colds and flus, and helps the environment by reducing the number of commuters.

Avoid work-from-home scams

However, for every real work-at-home job, there are dozens of frauds. Scammers try to steal your identity and/or money by getting personal information that a new hire would be expected to give an employer, such as a Social Security number or bank account number.

When considering a work-from-home job, put up your scam-detection radar. “First and foremost, trust your gut,” advises Christine Durst, who runs Rat Race Rebellion, an online job site that caters to the work-at-home and virtual workforce. “Almost every scam victim I’ve spoken with says, ‘I sort of felt like something wasn’t right.’”

Durst says to look for these signs that you are dealing with a legitimate employer:

  • The hirer is an established company.
  • The job ad includes the company name and does not ask applicants to reply to a blind email address.
  • Human resources personnel are available for questions.
  • There is mention of company benefits and vacation policies — information commonly associated with “real” employment.
  • There is an application and interview process, not simply an emailed offer.
  • The employer can detail the job duties and expectations.
  • References/work samples are requested.

Bankrate has put together a list of 20 legitimate work-at-home jobs. Wage and job-growth data comes from the 2018 edition of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. The BLS lists “median” wages rather than “average” wages. The median wage is in the middle of the data set, with half of the jobs paying less and half paying more. BLS job-growth projections are for 2018 to 2028.

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