Wired to the World, Chained to the Home: Telework in Daily Life

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How does working at home change people's activity patterns, social networks, and their living and working spaces? How will it change the way we plan houses and communities in the future? Will telecommuting solve many of society's ills, or create new ghettos?

Gurstein combines a background in planning, sociology of work, and feminist theory with qualitative and quantitative data from ten years of original research, including in-depth interviews and surveys, to understand the socio-spatial impact of home-based work on daily life patterns. She analyzes the experiences of teleworkers including employees, independent contractors, and self-employed entrepreneurs, and presents significant findings regarding the workload, mobility, the distinct differences according to work status and gender, and the tensions in trying to combine work and domestic activities in the same setting. As organizational structures, technology, and family priorities continue to change, the often overlooked phenomenon of teleworkers has important implications on everything from employment policies to community planning and design.


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About the author (2001)

Penny Gurstein is Associate Professor at the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning and Chair of the Centre for Human Settlements, where she specializes in urban design, participatory planning processes, and the sociocultural aspects of community planning.

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