Christopher Shea of the Wall Street Journal reports on a new research study by E. Glenn Dutcher in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Dutcher examines the work of telecommuters through an experimental study. He finds that their productivity depends on the type of work that they are doing. If the work is rote and repetitive, then people tend to be more productive in the office than at home. However, if they are performing creative tasks, then they appear to be more effective at home. The evidence suggests that an informal work environment may be more conducive to creativity.
I would add a bit more to this interpretation. I think the lower productivity for rote work conducted at home may be accounted for by the fact that one has many other options for how to use your time at home. If you have boring work to do at the office, you may be constrained in your ability to procrastinate while doing other more enjoyable activities. On the other hand, when you are at home, there may be many more desirable activities that you can pursue instead of the repetitive work associated with your job.