Working Mother released its annual list of 100 Best Companies. It’s no surprise that companies who embrace flex-time and telecommuting are named on the list, including Ernst & Young.

Way back in 1996, Ernst & Young established an Office for Retention with the express purpose of raising its overall rate of retention, especially among women. Since then, the firm has improved its retention rate of women over that of men and continues to benefit from the support of firm management to keep the momentum going. Part of the magic is telecommuting.

Ernst & Young employees take advantage of flexible work arrangements, such as compressed workweeks, telecommuting and flextime. With this flexibility, they can manage and achieve success in their careers, suited to their individual needs—ultimately producing the best possible results for Ernst & Young's people and its clients.

Companies like Ernst & Young are pioneers in telecommuting. Virtual office space goes hand in hand with telecommuting. Virtual office technologies empower telecommuting. At some level, you can telecommute without any virtual office space or virtual office technologies. All you really need in many cases is a phone and an Internet connection.

Case in point: When Ernst & Young started allowing telecommuting, virtual offices were hardly mainstream. In fact, most people didn’t have an Internet connection and those that did were most likely to be using AOL with a Netscape browser. But times have changed. Although telecommuting was possible long before the Internet, virtual office space and virtual office technologies help telecommuters work more productively, which has spurred more companies to adopt the practice.

Congratulations to all the companies that landed on Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies list. I’m sure many others besides Ernst & Young have some sort of flexible work arrangement—and it’s no coincidence that those companies are on this list.