Still on the road after all these years

In light of the recent heat wave, Derek Thompson over at The Atlantic asks why more people don’t telecommute:

The answer might have more to do with psychology than economics. Even if we’re technically more productive at home, we feel more conspicuously productive at work. You might think a recession would lead to more telecommuting since it reduces overhead and increases work hours. Instead, telework among the formally employed has slowed in the last three years.

Thinking back through my personal experience, this strikes me as correct. In the past, I’ve held several jobs that I could telecommute into, but I always felt like my time was suspect since it couldn’t be obviously verified by showing up to the office. For all of the inconveniences of commuting, at least I clearly received “credit” for my office appearances.