Out of sight, out of mind in a new world of work? Autonomy, control and spatiotemporal scaling in telework


We draw on the geographical concepts of social space, territoriality, and distantiation to examine an apparent tension inherent in telework: i.e., using information and communication technologies to work away from traditional workplaces can give employees a greater sense of autonomy while simultaneously placing new constraints on the way they conduct themselves in settings that were previously beyond the reach of managerial control. We draw on a longitudinal case study of a Belgian biopharmaceutical company to show how technical and professional teleworkers developed broadly similar strategies of spatiotemporal scaling to cope with this tension. We conclude by considering how these scaling strategies allowed employees to cope with the demands of ‘hybrid’ work that is conducted both at home and in traditional settings

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This paper was published in DIAL UCLouvain.

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