Telecommuting is the mundane version of the jetpack, a long-promised, much-anticipated technological system that's never arrived.
There are undoubtedly a lot of reasons that telecommuting hasn't taken off in the way some imagined, despite the fact that most information-age jobs could nominally be done from anywhere. In his new book, physicist Michio Kaku argues that the current telepresence technology "doesn't offer the full spectrum of sensations that come with being there in person." Others suggest companies want to keep an eye on their employees or employees fear being out of sight and therefore out of mind, even though telework hasn't been shown to hurt career advancement. Certainly people who are uncomfortable using networked communication tools would like out-of-office work less, too.
But I think the real reason that telecommuting hasn't taken off -- despite the massive time and energy savings it could deliver -- is that it's just less fun, particularly for the people most likely to adopt it. For younger people, going to an office is more fun than sitting at home. It's where they make friends and find camaraderie. Home is great for a few hours, and then it's kind of lonely and dull. While there are coworking spaces and coffeeshops, the easiest solution is to just go into the office.