Telecommuting into the next century

What's the biggest workplace trend as we head into the next century? Telecommuting. So says a recent survey by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Of the 200 human resource professionals surveyed, many said that future American productivity will be driven by telecommuting, where computers allow people the option of working from home instead of the office.

With today's booming economy and employee-driven market, employers want to keep workers happy. So to increase productivity and retain employees, many bosses are granting workers not only more personalized scheduling options, but geographical freedom as well. Telecommuting makes it no longer necessary for highly skilled employees to live in the same city as the company, or even the same state.

Here's what those surveyed said would be the most significant workplace change or trend heading into the new millennium:

*An increasingly mobile work force (telecommuting) (43 percent).

*Eldercare becomes the No. 1 workplace issue for employees and employers (29 percent).

*More women and minorities hold top spots on the corporate ladder (24 percent).

*Shorter work week (5 percent).

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