Marie Puybaraud – It is necessary to maintain a level of physical contact

I think if we only move within digital environments, probably we will lose touch with that physical identity which a workplace can actually bring to an organization. And there is a way to compensate, again that lack of physical environment and yet we’re not yet into a situation where everything is digital. So it’s a scenario for the future, so in any cases I don’t believe organizations can do without a physical environment somewhere, or a place that people can identify to. Call it an office, a headquarter, a co-working space, a shared space, it doesn’t matter, but something physical that they can attach to and find a community of workers. I think everybody will need that, as human beings, although the digital workplace is becoming much more accepted.

I mean we are entering into a phase which we call compensative society. So a virtual relationship equals the face to face relationship and you don’t have any problem about communicating through videos and so on, society has quickly accepted that today. It’s still, in my view, necessary to maintain that level of physical contact. So at the moment, organizations are reflecting on how to structure a digital workplace. There are few papers being published about the subject at the moment. It will become much more important for organizations to have that digital space somewhere. The way it is going to be structured, it’s still to be discovered, it could be a virtual island, like we used to have like in Second Life or something like that. It has already been experimented by Cisco and IBM and… I think it’s Shell or BP or… who had something online. But it didn’t prove to be that successful, so more work needs to be done, on that, but it will have an impact on us, on the way we work.

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