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Paul Barter, vice-president of research for T4G, speaks to Monica Spence using a teleconference projection program at their Toronto office. With advances in video communication, meetings can take place virtually.

JENNIFER ROBERTS/The Globe and Mail

Employers will have built-in advantages by having employees work on computers remotely in the future, says Ellen Auster, professor of strategic management and policy at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto:

Employees are not geographically constrained, meaning the company saves on real estate by not having to buy a big building and manage it.

There's better work-life balance for the people doing the work.

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A lighter carbon footprint because employees don't commute.

With advances in video communication, meetings can take place virtually.

But there are challenges facing management in the decentralized work environment, she notes:

Passing on the corporate culture – the norms, values and expectations that traditionally occur through face-to-face contact.

Expectations and goals of the job will need to be communicated to the employee.

May need to implement an online buddy system, pairing a new employee with somebody who knows how to handle work from home.

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