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Work from Home Inc.

Shira Isenberg

Does telecommuting sound like a dream job? There are definite perks when your office is at your home address. But there are plenty of trade-offs as well.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

For former Baltimore resident Noam Davidovics, the daily grind once included an arduous commute to Washington, D.C., for his job as director of IT for a small software development company. 

When his wife Deena, a pediatric oncologist, was offered a dream position at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, there was no question that the couple would be moving. Noam shared the news with his bosses — and they suggested he could keep his position after relocating.

“They told me I could work remotely, so I agreed,” says Noam. “It was clearly the best path forward.” The telecommuting trend has been rapidly increasing in recent years, growing by 73 percent from 2005 to 2011.

 According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in four workers spends at least a portion of his or her working hours at home. Many work-at-homers like Noam weren’t originally hired to work at home, they transition over time because of life circumstances. Kayla, who now lives in Denver, was a computer programmer for a national bank in Manhattan when her husband was offered a job out of town.

 “I told them I’d like to continue working but we’re moving. They essentially handed me the laptop,” she recalls. Since then, Kayla has been with the same company, successfully working from home for the past ten years, despite another move. Practical considerations led Rabbi Josh Friedman, director of development for Lezion B’rina Institute in Beitar — an award-winning school for boys from the former Soviet Union — to make the switch. He had been working for a year in the school’s Jerusalem office, an hour commute from his Ramat Beit Shemesh home. “I made the change because I didn’t need to be at the office,” explains Rabbi Friedman. “A lot of my work involved calling America on American time. If I was going to be working at night, I didn’t want to be away from home.” 

Some jobs are specifically planned as work-at-home positions. This came as a surprise to Yoni Frieden of Memphis when he was recruited to join a national insurance company as a clinical quality program administrator. Through friendly networking with the company’s representatives when they visited the nursing home at which he worked, Yoni learned of an open position that was a good fit for him. “They had an office only a couple miles from my house, so I applied. Only after the third round of interviews did they mention it was a work-from-home position.” Yoni was floored. “I’m a social guy. I don’t like working from home.” But Yoni was looking for a change and other aspects of the job appealed to him. So he took the job, finding ways to satisfy the social aspect he craved. “The job requires travel. 

I go to different medical practices and primary care facilities often. I also go into the office when I need to.” When it’s your own company, you can work from wherever you want, like Aviva Friedlander of Ramat Beit Shemesh. Her online marketing consulting business, LDF Consulting, which she runs from her house, grew out of her experience in corporate America. “When we lived in the US, I worked for a big multinational company and basically clawed my way up to management level. 

Then, when we made aliyah, I was already at a level where I was able to take my job with me. Shortly thereafter, I realized it wouldn’t work because I was working American hours — exactly when my kids walked in the door, all my conference calls started.” Aviva’s boss at the time suggested she work as a consultant instead, since consultants are based out of the European headquarters, a better time zone for her. “I simply resigned and, under a separate contract, they hired me back as a consultant.”

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