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Office space and doing digital business

Office space and doing digital business

Dr Lizzie Richardson, Department of Geography, Durham University

Date: 30th January

Location: S1.50 [campus map]

Time: 12:15 - 13:35


Offices are spaces through which business is organised and performed. To understand how business is done in a digital age this paper therefore proposes to examine transformations of office space in England. It is necessary more than ever to understand offices as technocultural spaces – constituted by the reciprocal relationship between technologies and normative standards of performing – where a fixed physical building is by no means always the most important element. Contemporary offices constitute digital business through apparently contrary processes of spatio-temporal fragmentation and extension. Physical offices are parcelled into smaller rentable commodities that both enable and react to the extension of business beyond the purpose-built office building. This fragmentation and extension of offices is set out through a focus on (i) the changing devices of office business notably social tools and cloud storage; (ii) the organisation of markets for office space particularly changing rental structures and the rise of casual or short term leases (iii) the emergence of offices as event spaces and destination hubs for mobile business (and social) activities. The paper forms part of a wider project focusing on the historical and contemporary role of office technologies in shaping the norms and standards of knowledge production and communication, which measure and perform social life in and beyond “the office”.