There is an interesting article at CareerJounal.com about the expansion in number of companies hiring professionals to work from home. Read the article here.
The big question is how do you manage project staff working from home??
The main problem would seem to be making sure the work is actually being done. The PM and staff would need to agree on what is to be done and the timeframe for it. For new, inexperienced staff this would be planned on a weekly basis and checked on a daily basis if the activity were on the critical path. Maybe check in twice a week for non-critical activities.
A secondary problem would be socialization - how do you create a high performing team of people who never or seldom meet face-to-face? Sounds like the PM would actually have to plan and execute staff development, rather than doing it randomly on an ad hoc basis. If it is too cost prohibitive for the entire project staff to meet together, try to setup up subproject gatherings. Also, the PM should meet with every team member early in the project.
I would appreciate other's thoughts on what they have seen work well with managing telecommuters.