Digital Geographies

Coordinating office space: Digital technologies and the platformization of work

Digital technologies enable the dispersal of office work from physical office buildings. The same technologies involve a counter tendency of concentration where offices are shared by different businesses, often for short periods, via the ‘space as service’ model. These opposing tendencies of workspace dispersal and concentration indicate the contingencies of technologies of work, in which their operations are mutually shaped by workplaces. Understanding what a technology of work is requires examining its situated actions and spaces of activity, like the office. Yet, the spatial characteristics of the present-day office demonstrate that ‘situatedness’ is by no means a straightforward vehicle for understanding contemporary technologies of work. Digital technologies tend less to divide space according to a specific function (i.e. work–life division), and more to create spaces of coordination that can adjust the definition of purposeful activity. Such spaces of coordination constitute the platformization of work with digital technologies in which spatial and temporal processes for instituting work extend beyond a single organization. Including but exceeding the ‘gig economy’ and ‘platform labour’, platformization indicates a wider reorganization of work through technologies that produces flexible arrangements of space and time, creating forms of independence, interdependence and dependency that challenge orders of work–life division.

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Volume 39 Issue 2

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