As tablets, smartphones and laptops proliferate and cloud computing matures, the opportunities for many Americans to work from home will multiply.
In fact, according to CBS, the number of off-site jobs is growing rapidly, and for good reason. Contrary to popular opinion, remote workers are, on the whole, more productive and engaged than their office-bound peers.
Combined with the belief that out-of-the-office workers can save their employers a great deal of money by reducing the need for supplies and space, the fact that many telecommuters are equally or even more efficient could mean that the next few years will see a rapid rise in the amount of people ditching the office.
Recent research suggests that new technology and a more relaxed office culture are making working remotely an increasingly viable option. In a blog for the Harvard Business Review, consultant Scott Edinger contends that remote workers often become more adept at long-distance communication tactics, which can help them collaborate and organize projects more effectively.
"Because leaders of far-flung teams have to use videoconferencing, instant messaging, e-mail, voicemail, and yes, the telephone, to make contact," he wrote for the news source, "they become proficient in multiple forms of communication, an advantage in leadership that their traditional counterparts could well develop but not so automatically."
Mastering the various forms of long-distance communication can help employees not only connect with each other, but also with clients, customers and partners. One of the most recent forms of digital communication is internet faxing, which allows users to send and receive faxes through email. This means that wherever they are, they will be able to communicate with ease.
For remote workers, this capability could be a game-changer. Before online faxing, telecommuters might have felt tethered to the office. If they did not remain close to a fax machine at all times, they sacrificed a vital way of communicating. Because faxing was a popular mode of communication in many professions - and remains an integral one in others - a worker's decision to snub the fax might have proven harmful.
In this situation, a fax to email service is invaluable. Off-site workers can feel confident that they will never miss an important message or document when using online faxing.