Telecommuting makes a lot of sense. Having information workers gathered into cubicle farms in a central location is so 1960s. The ability to quickly exchange information from remote locations, coupled with the high cost in time and energy to commute to the old office park, makes it increasingly popular now, and probably the de facto standard in the not too distant future. There's one problem in the short term: Your ISP doesn't care if you exist.
...good luck trying to use your virtual private network, or VPN, while sending e-mail and surfing the Web. According to a Forrester Research study released Wednesday, telecommunication companies don't focus on consumers who work from home. As a result, those workers suffer slower Web speeds, slower customer service and security issues they otherwise might not face if they were working at the office.
"Because home workers' telecommunication needs are not strictly personal nor precisely business-based, providers have a difficult time creating a product strategy for these consumers," analyst Sally M. Cohen wrote in the report.
The main problem is bandwith. Workers in the corporate setting have been spoiled by access to blazing fast T-1 lines for quite some time, and are in for a shock when they first try to get anything done over the web with services like comparatively pokey DSL -- which was fine when their daughter was on My Little Pony.com, but isn't so great for your teleconference. And security's a bear when people are scattered all over the landscape. The market is big, and growing, so ISPs would do well to serve it better. According to the article, 22.8 million people run a business from their home in addition to telecommuting workers who get casual Friday every day. Can't talk now, boss; Oprah's on.