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Top Telecommuting Companies

See why these 10 major corporations are truly telecommuter friendly.

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A web search for telecommuting companies brings loads of results with lists of supposedly "telecommute friendly" companies. Yet, what does that mean? Any company can put a telecommuting policy on the books, but how--or whether--that policy is implemented makes all the difference.

While I have a list of more than 150 companies that offer some type of work-at-home opportunities, the major corporations singled out below (and listed alphabetically) are more than just hospitable to the occasional telecommuter; they have a proven track record of using a remote workforce across multiple divisions within the company. And that's what I call telecommute friendly.

That is not to say telecommuting is allowed universally because some positions and divisions are better suited to telecommuting than others, and often jobs are hired for a brick-and-mortar office and transition to telecommuting.

Aetna

Aetna
Courtesy of Aetna

Revenue (2011): $34 billion
Employees: 34,000*
Industry: Insurance, managed care

Insurance and managed care company Aetna began its telecommuting program in claims processing. Now, more than a decade later, that has expanded to include other departments, such as nursing, sales, legal, product management and clinical staff.

Telecommuting Position Types: Nurses, physicians, network managers, claims adjusters (See more telecommuting insurance jobs.)

Finding a Telecommute Job at Aetna: Choose "Yes" in its jobs database under "Potential Telework Position," but for postings with more specifics about telecommuting, also search with keywords "telework" and “work at home." Many positions are not necessarily hired as telecommuting, but can transition to it in the future.

American Express

American Express
Getty/David McNew

Revenue (2011): $30 billion
Employees: 61,000
Industry: Financial, travel

The travel division of American Express has a large telecommute workforce and actively hires telecommuters in the U.S., U.K, Canada and Australia for call center jobs which are mostly travel-related sales. However, there’s more to American Express’s telecommuting credentials than that relatively small division. In addition, the financial company also allows many of its corporate jobs to be telecommuted. However, many of these are not necessarily hired as telecommuting jobs but transition to it.

Telecommuting Position Types: Travel counselor (call center), sales, corporate (See more work at home call center jobs.)

Finding a Telecommute Job at American Express: In the jobs database, use "virtual," "telecommute" or "work at home" as keywords to find a job online in its database.

AT&T

AT&T
Getty/Tim Boyle

Revenue (2011): $125 billion
Employees: 267,000
Industry: Telecommunications

As a company that makes a profit selling the products and services that make telecommuting work, it’s not surprising that AT&T as a large number of telecommuters. According to the company website, in 2010 AT&T counted more than 12,000 approved telecommuters among its ranks and more than 130,000 employees have access to technology that allows them to work from a variety of locations.

Telecommuting Position Types: Various

Finding a Telecommute Job at AT&T : Unfortunately, AT&T’s jobs website does not make finding a telecommuting position easy. Because of the nature of its business, a search with the keyword “telecommute” can bring up many non-telecommute positions.

Cigna

Work at Home Insurance Jobs
Rob Case/Getty

Revenue (2011): $22 billion
Employees: 30,600
Industry: Insurance, managed care

The company’s pilot work-at-home employment program, launched in 2002, was for employees in claims and field health care. Now, Cigna has more than 3,000 workers telecommuting. The company promotes its "results-driven environment," which is usually an atmosphere in which telecommuting thrives.

Telecommuting Position Types: Nurses, case managers, claims workers, analysts (See more telecommuting nursing and medical jobs.)

Finding a Telecommute Job at Cigna: There is no specific way to search the company’s employment database for telecommuting jobs postings other than keywords. Use both "work from home" and "work at home."

Cisco

Cisco
Getty/Justin Sullivan

Revenue (2011): $40 billion
Employees: 70,700
Industry: Network and other communications

When it comes to telecommuting, Cisco has put its money where its mouth is. And as a result, the company has hung on to a hefty chunk of its money--$277 million in productivity savings, according to a 2009 study. The tech company, whose products include Cisco Virtual Office (CVO), uses this product in its own workplace, where the average Cisco employee telecommuted 2.0 days per week. The company, along with Telework Exchange, sponsors Telework Week each February.

Ranked #20 on Fortune’s "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2011, 85 percent of its employees "regularly work from home or on the road."

Telecommuting Position Types: Various

Finding a Telecommute Job at Cisco: Cisco’s employment database allows you to search for “Flexible Work Options” via a drop-down menu. However, this isn’t specifically telecommuting. Searching using the word "telecommute" will likely bring up jobs related to its telecommuting services.

Deloitte

Deloitte
Getty

Revenue (2009): $27 billion
Employees: 38,500
Industry: Consulting

Though it ranks #63 in Fortune’s "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2011, Deloitte is #1 on that list for telecommuting, reporting that 86 percent of its workers telecommute for at least 20 percent of the work week.

According to SHRM’s HR Magazine, Deloitte "offers most of its 45,000 employees nationwide the option to telecommute as many as five days a week, and has done so for 15 years." Employees use videoconferencing to meet with clients and other employees.

The company uses what it terms "mass career customization" to create flexible work options, which include the ability to customize the pace of career growth and development, workload, and location and/or schedule.

Telecommuting Position Types: Various

Finding a Telecommute Job at Deloitte: In the company’s employment listings there is no specific way to search telecommute jobs, but with 86 percent of the employees telecommuting, there’s a good chance of finding a telecommute friendly position.

IBM

IBM
Getty/Sean Gallup

Revenue (2011): $14 billion
Employees: 427,000
Industry: Information Technology

A survey of more than 24,000 IBM employees in 2010 found that telecommuters could squeeze 50 percent more hours into the work week before feeling the strain work-life conflicts. So telecommuting at Big Blue isn’t necessarily an easy life, but it is on the rise, and it could be more lucrative for the employee. According to ITExaminer.com in 2009, a vice president at IBM predicted that in perhaps six months about 15 to 20 percent of IBM’s workforce would telecommute. He added, “It would also be a good option of providing higher salary packages in compensation of the energy-savings done on their part.”

According to IBM’s benefits web page, flexible work schedules (varying your daily arrival time), telecommuting and work-week balancing schedules are allowed in many departments with prior management approval.

Telecommuting Position Types: Sales, marketing

Finding a Telecommute Job at IBM: Telecommuting is an arrangement decided between managers and employees, so the jobs database does not have specific listings for work at home jobs.

Intel

Getty/Justin Sullivan

Revenue (2011): $44 billion
Employees: 82,500
Industry: Semiconductors and other electronic components

Coming in at #51 overall in Fortune’s "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2011, Intel has made it on its top telecommuting company’s list two years in a row with a report of 82 percent "regular" telecommuters. According to the company’s benefits page, employees and managers may agree on flexible work options such as telecommuting, working part time, job sharing, adopting alternative start and stop times or making other arrangements.

Telecommuting Position Types: Various

Finding a Telecommute Job at Intel: Because telecommuting and other flexible work options are arrangements between manager and employee, the company’s employment database does not provide a good way to search for telecommute jobs.

McKesson

Getty/Justin Sullivan

Revenue (2011): $109 billion
Employees: 32,500
Industry: Healthcare services

Nurses make up the vast majority of McKesson's telecommuting workforce, with 800 of them working in call centers performing telephone triage and disease management via telephone. In fact, in that division of the company between 80-85 percent of its workers are full-time telecommuters.**

Telecommuting Position Types: Nurses (RNs), physicians and marketing, IT and sales professionals

Finding a Telecommute Job at McKesson: To find a work-at-home position, search the company's job database. Jobs with no city and state are telecommute, but also use keywords "work at home" to search as some work at home jobs are associated with locations.
** Source: How to Optimize Teleworkers

UnitedHealth Group

Revenue (2011): $94 billion
Employees: 87,000
Industry: Insurance, managed care

Tom Valerius, vice president of recruitment at UnitedHealth Group, told Minnesota Public Radio "nearly 20 percent of the company's 70,000 employees work at home most of the time. They include everyone from computer technicians and nurses to accountants and recruitment managers."

The company regularly hires new employees as telecommuters, instead of allowing it only as a perk for existing employees. A search of its employment database finds dozens of telecommuting jobs at any given time.

Telecommuting Position Types: Nurses, contract managers, auditors, Medicare/Medicaid specialists, analysts and consultants

Finding a Telecommute Job at UnitedHealth Group: Use "telecommute" and "telecommuting" and "work at home" as keywords on the company's job search page. Unfortunately the language of the different job postings is not standardized, so these will each pull up different jobs.

*Source for revenue and employee data is Fortune 500.
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