Ever daydream about ditching your daily commute, but worry that working from home just isn’t compatible with a senior management career? If so, here’s some good news: Telecommuting has evolved.
FlexJobs, a site that posts openings for positions that allow remote work all or part of the time, recently analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that the average telecommuter now is age 46 or older, has at least a bachelor’s degree, and earns a higher median salary than his or her in-office counterpart. The BLS also reported that employees classed as “managerial or professional” were more likely than other types of workers to do all or some of their work from home.
Executives who’d like to telecommute “are often surprised by the variety of remote jobs that match their experience and career level,” says FlexJobs CEO Sara Sutton Fell—and not just a few positions, either. As of mid-September, the site listed 1,081 senior management and C-suite openings for people interested in telecommuting.
Ten recent and current examples of titles and salaries for these work-at-home jobs:
- Chief Marketing Officer, $170,500
- Director of Digital/Online Marketing, $100,440
- Director of Finance, $111,000
- Director of Product Marketing, $137,800
- Director of Strategic Partnerships, $130,300
- Head of Operations, Vendor Relations $88,000
- Regional Vice President, $138,000
- Vice President for Communications, $126,000
- Vice President of Data Science, $125,800
- Vice President of Engineering, $235,000
Beyond the appropriate professional know-how, candidates need to stress how adept they are with virtual tools like Skype, Slack, and Google Hangouts, says Sutton Fell. In interviews or cover letters, she suggests going into detail about how you’ve managed or collaborated from a distance in your career so far. “How did you run remote meetings, for example? How did you communicate with your team, and how often? How did you track deadlines and projects? The more specific you can be, the better.” Lacking previous telecommuting experience won’t necessarily put you out of the running, Sutton Fell adds, if you can give examples of how you’ve used your “soft” skills to accomplish big things.
“A virtual manager needs all the same ‘people skills’ as an in-person manager, only super-sized,” notes Pamela LaGioia, president of TeleworkRecruiting, another big virtual-job site. “Leading remotely is a lot more demanding.” Virtual team leaders should make an extra effort to keep up strong relationships with direct reports, for instance, because physical distance makes it easier to miss critical information. “If you can, go on-site in person at least once a month, meet with each team member one on one, and encourage people to tell you their concerns,” says LaGioia. “Then, listen even more carefully than you would if you saw them every day.”
Long-distance leadership isn’t for everybody, she adds. Some personality types, notably extroverts (about half the U.S. population, by most estimates), thrive on the contact and camaraderie of an office more than they may realize—until they try working home alone, day in and day out.
Not sure if that might apply to you? “Try doing your current job from home for a month,” LaGioia suggests. “You may be fine with it, or you may find you feel so lonely and out of touch that you run screaming back to the office.”
Anne Fisher is a career expert and advice columnist who writes “Work It Out,” Fortune’s guide to working and living in the 21st century. Each week, she’ll answer your most challenging career questions. Have one? Ask her on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.