The digital workplace - virtual work or digitally augmented work communities?

2012-09-22

Listening to the european-driven agenda on the "digital workplace", the core focus is on enabling people to work remotely (aka telework or telecommunting). Mark Morrell defines it as:

"Work is what you do, not where you go to."

An academic panel of experts thinks:

Forget whether it's practical to bring your own technology devices to work - in the future, you may not even have an office.

Because of these changes, workforces will become far more dispersed. Workers will have diverse careers in many different locations, working for shorter periods on projects.

In many cases, the people working in this way will not even know each other's identities.

But listening to Tim Butchers's story about co-working at Hub Melbourne, I can't but help think there is a different perspective - where you go to and who is there is important:

Mobility and the Internet still play an important part in enabling co-working and activity-based workplaces, but I'm not convinced the future of work is mechanical turk for all. I'd prefer digitally augmented work communities instead.

A more realistic view is the one outlined by Charles Handy, in his classic The Age Of Unreason - particularly his concept of the Shamrock Organisation.

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