From social distancing to virtual connections

How the surge of remote working could remold shared spaces

  • Luisa Errichiello Italian National Research Council (CNR) Institute for Studies on the Mediterranean (ISMed), Naples, Italy
  • Daniele Demarco Institute for Studies on the Mediterranean (ISMed) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR).
Keywords: Coronavirus, Remote working, Smart city, Workplaces, Identity


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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Author Biographies

Luisa Errichiello, Italian National Research Council (CNR) Institute for Studies on the Mediterranean (ISMed), Naples, Italy

Researcher at the Institute for Studies on the Mediterranean (ISMed) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR). Her research interests are related to organizational innovation and the interplay between technology and organizing. Within these fields, she carried on research on practice-based service innovation, the impact of ICT adoption on organizational routines, the organization of remote work arrangements and new work practices in collaborative spaces. Research results have been presented at various conferences including the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, and have been published in international journals, such as Economics and Management of Services, Facilities, CERN Idea Square Journal of Experimental Innovation, International Journal of Tourism Research and Sustainabiliity.

Daniele Demarco, Institute for Studies on the Mediterranean (ISMed) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR).

Researcher at the Institute for Studies on the Mediterranean (ISMed) of the Italian National Research Council (CNR). He completed his Master degree in Art and Humanities at University of Naples Federico II and obtained his Ph.D. degree in Philosophy at the Italian Institute for Human Science (SUM). By adopting interdisciplinary research perspectives, he investigates how technological innovations and virtual atmospheres are influencing our perception of the world and of the space we live in. His activities include collaborations on several research projects experimenting with interdisciplinary approaches straddling philosophy, urban planning and management.


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How to Cite
Errichiello, L., & Demarco, D. (2020). From social distancing to virtual connections. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 151-164.
Special Issue - Covid-19 vs City-20