Page 18 - WHERE WE WORK - Schlegelmilch
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 workers conduct work if not at home or at the office. More recently, many workers can experience the implications of the physical setting on work in the sudden remote work situation during the COVID-19 crisis. There is vast difference between physical environments that workers find themselves in during this time and how these environments afford or hinder people’s work efforts. Furthermore, the COVID-19 crisis has shown many companies what is (not) possible when it comes to remote work and what employees need to make remote work ‘work’. Also, the enduring protective measures by governments against COVID-19 force companies to rethink their physical work arrangements in fast forward (Boland et al., 2020; Yoon, 2020). Another aspect is the pace with which the crisis has forced workers and organizations to adapt the new situation (Neeley, 2020; Streitfeld, 2020). While this is just one example, it makes very clear that the physical workplaces in digitally enabled work matter to how we work. I want to explore in more depth the role of the physical workplace for digital workers and offer key learnings for how managers and employees can deal with it.
In this dissertation, I draw attention away from the digital environment as an object of study towards the physical work environment where digitally enabled work takes place. To understand how the physical workplace matters in digital work, I ask:
What are the theoretical and practical implications of the physical workplace for digital workers?
This question prompts both inductive explorations of contemporary workplaces as well as deductive tests of the relationship between workplaces and worker behavior. By focusing on the role of the physical workplace, my dissertation emphasizes the way current knowledge workers interact with their physical environment within and across different workplaces to stay connected to colleagues, conduct focused work and innovate. Utilizing both inductive and deductive research approaches, I demonstrate that the physical work environment plays an important part in digitally enabled work. Thereby, I bring physical setting into our discussion

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