Video conferencing is helping many companies save money on office space by allowing some of their employees to work from home, according to the Kansas City Star.
"The recession just may have moved teleworking from being a cushy perk to becoming a business necessity," Miami employment attorney Richard Tuschman told a group of employers considering telecommuting plans, according to the paper.
The Star says that prior to the recession, many managers resisted allowing employees work from home, but now many companies are now forcing their employees to work from home on at least a part-time basis. One employer told the paper that having employees work from home helped prevent layoffs.
Video conferencing software has allowed managers to keep better track of their employees and their production, and also helps employees keep up with changes at the office.
"Sometimes it's not just about work. I'll chat for 10 minutes about things like what mood the boss is in today or other workplace gossip," Russell Correa, a human resources consultant told the paper.
Government officials expect telecommuting to increase in the coming years. More than 34 million adults in the U.S. already telecommute occasionally. Analysts say that number is expected to rise to 63 million - representing 43 percent of all U.S. workers - by 2016.