From social distancing to virtual connections
How the surge of remote working could remold shared spaces
Covid-19 will have significant impacts on the world, changing many aspects of our lives, including urban life and work routines. Challenges arising from the spread of the coronavirus are likely to push the digital infrastructuring of cities, accelerating the transition towards the smart city. Additionally, we may see a permanent shift towards remote work arrangements, notably telecommuting and smart working. In the aftermath of the pandemic, the affirmation of such a scenario requires us to reflect on the challenges of an interconnected society produced by Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Taking remote working as an illustrative example, the paper offers a critical reflection on how ICTs can influence our perceptions of places and argues that places play a key role in influencing the patterns of remote workers’ identity construction. The authors caution about the dark side of digital connectivity, pointing at the risks that a prolonged detachment from reality and the loss of places can put on remote workers’ identity. In order to overcome potential tensions, remote workers should avoid too much connectivity continuously balancing identity performance in both physical and virtual workplaces. Implications for both organizational and urban design are provided.
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