Many employees recognize that they are doing major amounts of professional work away from what might be considered their official workspace. Some knowledge workers are beginning to see a different world for themselves where work and home are allowed to blur and where periods of paid work alternate throughout the day with periods devoted to family and leisure. Because of rapid improvements in technology and changes in the global economy, worker mobility and distributed work have become a central topic for employees and companies alike. In this volume we begin to remedy a shortcoming in the literature on these topics by center-staging accounts of personal experience. Contributors' narratives revolve around observations they made about their own behavior, illustrations of successes, and descriptions of the tensions inherent in mobile life and work. Thus, the articles reflect the authors' self-conscious awareness of their individual mobile lives and, most importantly, how their lives contribute to and are shaped by larger societal patterns. In this introduction we provide an overview of the individual articles that follow, as well as some background for an informed reading, by discussing some of the driving forces behind the transition from conventional work styles to mobile and distributed patterns of work. We critically review some of the literature on the work and lifestyle transition that constitutes the central theme for this volume, including the effects of globalization, the development of tools for remote collaboration, and the blurring of home and office work. We elaborate our review of the literature on mobility and distributed work to highlight the stylistic, methodological, and topical contributions of this volume, thereby deepening our understanding of how this new mobility fits into the broader cultural and economic landscape.
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