Fuel prices are unpredictable, and companies need to cut overhead. So there’s no better time to encourage telecommuting. But there’s a downside: When people work from home, managers get suspicious. What if the telecommuter is goofing off?

The suspicious employer could turn to remote monitoring technology, but that solution is both boon and bane. Sure, businesses can watch workers down to actual keystrokes and even literally keep eyes on them via webcams. But by doing so, the corporation can overstep bounds, open itself to lawsuits, antagonize workers, and turn contractors into full-time employees, whether they want to or not.

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