Question: Future of Telecommuting

Tell us where you think telecommuting (remote work) is heading and what it means for "normal" careers.

Expert Insight

As an independent contractor, I've been literally "phoning it in" for years. I did a three-week project with a concern in Australia. I work with non-profits from Europe to Silicon Valley. I have a client in Mexico.

There is no reason that a great many of us cannot avail ourselves of 21st Century tools ranging from the Internet to cloud-based services to teleconferencing platforms to perform just as if we were co-located with workers around the globe.

In fact, this is the direction that the modern workforce is heading as companies seek the expertise they need at a price they deem fair (and pay for through electronic transfers, as well). A study released last fall found that 34% of the workforce are engaged in freelancing at least part time ( With that number expected to grow, fewer people will be tied to office-based work stations.

Multiple studies (e.g., Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society, Brown University, Stanford Business) found measurable productivity increases when staff work from home three or more days each week. Remote workers eliminate hours of commute time per week, which results in less stress on infrastructure. Less traffic means potentially less environmental impact and even reductions in auto insurance rates. This can be a win-win for companies and workers alike.