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5 work-from-home companies you need to know about

5 work-from-home companies you need to know about

Working from home is a popular pursuit, according to research by the Telework Research Network. The research group reports that one in five employed Americans work from home at least one day a week, and about 3 million workers never set foot into an office outside home. That number is expected to increase 63 percent in the next five years, thanks in part to greenhouse gas reduction and company savings.

Work-from-home companies getting noticed

Tired of spending big money on your commute just to sit in an office all day? Skip your daily dose of traffic with these telecommuting companies, and check out a few tips along the way that can help you succeed in the work-from-home job search.

Cisco

The global networking giant suffered layoffs in 2012, but Cisco still makes the list thanks to the fact that 90 percent of its employees are "regular" commuters -- working from home at least a fifth of the time -- according to CNN Money. Job opportunities in emerging markets, global HR, finance and the public sector make this tech giant appeal to more than just computer science graduates. Larger companies are more likely to allow telecommuting than small ones, Telework reports. Look for a company with a proven track record of hiring employees both for brick-and-mortar and telecommuting positions.

Oracle

Another tech-heavy company, Oracle acquired telecommuter-friendly Sun Microsystems in 2010. Telework notes that Sun's teleworkers spent 60 percent of their commute time doing work for the company -- a production increase for employer and employee both. While you might start out with a five-day work week, telecommuting companies often grant work-from-home benefits with experience and seniority. And reconsider the myth that telecommuting means suffering a smaller salary -- Telework reports that the typical telecommuting employee earned up to $58,000 per year nationally, as of June 2011.

Teach For America

Make a difference in the lives of underprivileged kids across the country, and spend more time at home while you're at it. Teach For America's nonprofit structure attracts hardworking young graduates to its teaching program, and many filter into full time employment with the company. CNN Money reports that 80 percent of Teach for America employees work from home at least part time. With recent job openings in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York, you're more likely to find a way to improve your local schools. Nonprofit companies saw a big jump in telecommuting workers between 2005 and 2011, increasing 85 percent, according to Telework. Only federal employees and state government employees saw more growth, with increases of 424 percent and 114 percent, respectively.

American Express

Telework reports that American Express phone representatives working from home handled 26 percent more calls, generating 43 percent more business than their commuting coworkers. The reason behind the numbers? Home-based workers are less likely to call in sick, are able to handle home appointments, and more likely to work harder and longer on the job. As companies continue to see production figures rise, American workers may see more and more work-from-home opportunities.

Alpine Access

This virtual call center company deserves a mention as one of the nation's largest fully virtual companies. Working virtually for Alpine Access is similar to working for any call center, meaning you'll need to be in front of your computer taking calls, unless you're taking breaks or lunches. On the bright side, the system accepts inbound customer service, financial services, video gaming specialist and healthcare support calls -- no telemarketing. The company insists that workers make childcare arrangements and do their work behind a closed office door to prevent noise-based distractions.

Telecommuter tip: Avoid "too good to be true" scams

If working from home is your job search goal, be careful; a lot of scam businesses prey on job hunters looking to make a few easy bucks from their couch. Avoid companies that require you to pay a startup or subscription fee, and be wary of companies building their entire job posting around the concept of telecommuting. If a job opportunity sounds too good to be true, it could end with you at the bottom of a pyramid scheme.

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