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Is Telecommuting Overrated?

The futurist Alvin Toffler predicted the rise of telecommuting, calling the home office an "electronic cottage" that could enhance family and community cohesion. A growing segment of today's workforce telecommutes—in a variety of ways and with varying frequency. But, as reported by Slate's Evgeny Morozov, research indicates that the outcomes of tech-enabled remote work arrangements are decidedly mixed. A Deloitte report about a flexible work pilot program at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management concluded that both employees and their managers had a hard time evaluating performance, and that the quality of work suffered. And while the insurance giant Aetna allows 47 percent of its employees to work from home, those workers tend to be heavier, spurring the company to hire an online personal trainer.   More