Green jobs. You hear all about them lately, but what are they, exactly? This is where the problem lies; there is no concrete definition of a green job and if you ask five different people to define it, you’ll likely get five different answers. Just look at Jonathan Kesselman’s “On the Streets – Green Jobs” episode as evidence. Defining green jobs is difficult.


With the surge of renewable energy jobs in the nation, people often associate green jobs with wind turbine manufacturing or solar panel installation. Naturally, these industries are considered green, but other trends are emerging. One growing job trend that is beginning to make its mark on the green jobs movement is telecommuting.


Although today’s technology allows for employees to easily telecommute, a surprisingly small number of people actually do so. I think that corporate culture is to blame, at least in part, for the relatively low percentage of people who telecommute.


According to a Washington Post article, only 7.7 percent of 1.8 million federal employees telecommute. However, not all positions lend themselves to telecommuting. Of those positions in which an employee could, realistically, work from home, only 18.6 percent of employees telecommuted.


Although those figures seem low, telecommuting rates vary from state to state and across industries. A good site for researching telecommuting rates in your area is Undress 4 Success. According to the site, only 4.88 percent of the residents in the Phoenix metropolitan area telecommute. However, these remote workers account for a 155,456 metric ton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Telecommuting may just be the ultimate green job, especially if the telecommuter works for a green company.


Now that I’ve piqued your interest in telecommuting, I thought I’d give you some guidance on finding a telecommuting job. One company, FlexJobs, is dedicated to telecommuting, freelance and online job opportunities. The staff at FlexJobs practices what they preach -- they all work from home.


“The idea for FlexJobs came about in 2006 by Sara Sutton Fell, an experienced entrepreneur who at the time was pregnant with her first child. She had started looking at flexible work arrangements for herself, and discovered how challenging it was to find something (a) legitimate and (b) in line with her career.” Source: FlexJobs


She touched on one of the biggest obstacles to finding a work-from-home opportunity: legitimacy. There are so many scams out there, and it is hard to filter through them. FlexJobs does the background research for you. The staff researches all of the jobs before they are listed on the site.


FlexJobs has a section of their website dedicated to eco-focused telecommuting opportunities. Jobs currently listed on the environmental section of FlexJobs include energy auditor account representative, wildlife blogger and eco-focused cartoon graphic artist.


As Americans navigate their way through the nation’s economic woes, many are looking for ways to save a little green. Telecommuting is one way to save a little green and become a little greener. I’ve heard the phrase “greener is the new green” used quite a bit lately. Telecommuting is just one way a person can become a bit greener.


Photo: Arbron

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