During the past twenty years, many office workers have gotten used to the flexibility of occasionally working from home. In 1996, only 20 percent of companies let some employees telecommute at least some of the time. Now, 60 percent let their employees log in to work from their laptops at home—or anywhere with decent WiFi. It's a perk workers enjoy, it can save companies money, and there's research to suggest it could help close the gender pay gap.
But some companies, like IBM, say remote workers have become too isolated, developing habits that hurt collaboration, innovation and productivity. IBM was a telecommuting pioneer, so it was surprising when, last month, they told their hundreds of thousands of employees they could no longer work remotely.
So what's the future of work? This week on Game Plan, Christopher Mims, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal and a 10 year veteran of working from home, explains why he believes companies can't tamp down distance working.