Lonely telecommuters? Help is on the way

One of the often mentioned downsides of telecommuting from home is the lack of face-to-face contact with coworkers. No more conversations around the water cooler. This can be particularly true for full-time home-based telecommuters. In one of our telecommuting demonstration projects we even had a telecommuter who quit the program so he could go back to the office full-time—and he was telecommuting only one day per week!

This risk of anomie is often quoted as a reason not to telecommute even though it is rare among part-time telecommuters. But now technology is coming to the rescue with robotic telepresence. A company named Willow Garage is developing a telepresence robot called the Texas Robot in order to help them understand the technical challenges and social benefits of robot telepresence.
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