This MSNBC piece on telecommuting makes clear that we are just at the start of a new wave in distance work. Once employers focus on getting a given job done without regard to how or where it gets done, all kinds of possibilities begin to suggest themselves. To wit:

Here’s one job that seems un-teleworkable: A hotel concierge.

Well, the concierge at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, Anna Mariano-Morris is in fact a teleworker.

Her boss, hotel general manager Peter Rice, says Mariano-Morris came to hotel management five years ago with the idea to let her work from home so she could spend more time with her family and not have the hour and a half commute.

Management decided to go for it, paying to set up a webcam on her home computer and covering the cost of a T1 line to her home. They also put a 42-inch plasma television in the hotel lobby that also has a webcam so Mariano-Morris can see hotel guests and they can see her. She can look up restaurants and local attractions online and even remotely print out directions for guests right there on the spot.

“She’s a phenomenal concierge and it doesn’t matter that she’s 85 miles away,” he says. “We call her virtual Anna.”

Smart employers understand that a few thousand dollars in up-front cost is nothing compared to losing good employees.