First of all, we can divide our "Work-at-Home" community into two basic groups.
(1) Those that work for themselves in a home-based business (including independent contractors) and (2) Those that work for others as an employee, but perform that work at home.
Both groups have seen a huge increase in popularity and numbers of participants for a variety of reasons most of which are centered on tough economic times.
In the first group, with the rise of unemployment through the loss of many jobs recently, we find many more people turning to their computers and "the internet" to try and make a living. Others are simply becoming more creative in performing various work-related functions like "flea-marketing", or simply offering their services on temporary "pick-up" work.
For the second group, though, we find a more profound and, perhaps, permanent type of increase.
A whole range of companies are finding that, in many cases, it is more economical to give their staff worker a laptop and/or blackberry and have them "telecommute" the work back and forth to their offices. Using the actual office only for meetings, training and/or similar functions.
The cost savings to the company can be quite substantial in, not only, reduction in office space needed, but in travel expenses and the like. Naturally, there are precautions in that the company must still see a productive output from the employee now "working from home". It is also obvious that there are a lot of companies who can not adapt very much (if any) of their workload to such "home" environments.
Regardless, the economics of the times and the technological advances of phones and computers along with all the peripheral equipment, will make the telecommuting concept a permanent feature of the modern workplace.