I recently found myself wondering about what would be the reasons why most IT companies don't like the idea of having its employees working remotely.
From the top of my head, and playing a devil's advocate role, I can come up with:
Working remotely gives you an excuse not to work;
You are more easily distracted;
I cannot just go to your desk and discuss something with you;
I cannot control what you do.
I'm probably missing some, so feel free to comment on that and I will add them.
Let's try to dissect all of those, one by one:
Working remotely gives you an excuse not to work. Fair enough. You are not present and - as such - can do whatever the hell you want. But you cannot not work. At least if you want to keep your job, that is. The main problem here - I believe - is just a matter of perception. You can keep track of someone's work just as easily remotely or on the same building. IT people have it especially easy, since their deliverables are typically in the form of source code (it's pretty easy to track changes).
You are more easily distracted. A fairly good point. I'm not going to say it's not true, especially if you work at home. Your daily life can easily get in the way and it will take an extra amount of effort to keep them separated. But that is not to say that it cannot be done. Moreover, you will eventually find that the person will feel more motivated, even enough to put in more time and/or work outside work hours.
I can't just go to your desk and discuss something with you. This is a no brainer. Ever heard of Skype? MSN? Google Talk? Email? What about Google Wave? Need I say more?
I cannot control what you do. Again, see point number 1. In software development you can. It's pretty easy to keep track of what people are doing, especially if you use agile methodologies (like Scrum) in your daily activities. Get people to meet everyday in a room with Skype and do rounds talking about what was done the day before and what the plan for the day is. It does not get any easier than that, keeping track of people's work.
So my question is: How come more IT companies are not doing this? It reduces their electricity bills, their water bills, the amount of money spent on office supplies, etc. I could go on, but you get my point.