Officing: Mediating Time and the Professional Self in the Support of Nomadic Work
Today’s mobile knowledge professionals use a diversity of digital technologies to perform their work. Much of this daily technology consumption involves a variety of activities of articulation, negotiation and repair to support their work as well as their nomadic practices. This article argues that these activities mediate and structure social relations, going beyond the usual attention given to this work as a support requirement of cooperative and mobile work. Drawing on cultural approaches to technology consumption, the article introduces the concept of ‘officing’ and its three main categories of connecting , configuring and synchronizing, to show how these activities shape and are shaped by the relationship that workers have with their time and sense of professional self. This argument is made through research of professionals at a municipal council in Sydney and at a global telecommunications firm with regional headquarters in Melbourne, trialling a smartphone prototype. This research found that while officing fuels a sense of persistent time pressure and collapse of work and life boundaries, it also supports new temporal and spatial senses and opportunities for maintaining professional identities.