"We are always on, is that really necessary?" Exploring the Path to Digital Sufficiency in Flexible Work - Signal et Communications Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2023

"We are always on, is that really necessary?" Exploring the Path to Digital Sufficiency in Flexible Work

Maël Madon
Patricia Lago
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Abstract

Companies are increasingly adopting cloud-based solutions to provide their employees with tools for flexible work. The environmental consequences of this trend, although largely under-researched, are likely to be negative. In fact, by enabling integrated and easy-to-use features (document collaboration, backups, online meetings, etc.), using the cloud typically leads to a growth in data traffic and outsourced computation. At the same time, the 2022 IPCC report (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) calls for sufficiency measures to reach net-zero emissions, i.e. actions on the demand side to avoid unnecessary consumption of resources. However, how much and which cloud usage is "sufficient" for flexible work? This exploratory study looks into this question by using qualitative research methods. We carried out three focus groups within two companies, investigating the daily use of digital technologies in flexible work. A thematic analysis using open coding was performed on the outcome. Our findings include (i) a list of main digital work activities and differences according to work settings, (ii) the perceptions of what makes certain digital activities or their cloud feature necessary, and (iii) a list of tactics towards sufficiency and the perceived benefits and challenges associated to them. In our increasingly connected work environments, there are plenty of opportunities to decrease our digital footprint by recentering on the essentials, and simultaneously bring co-benefits like focus, and better quality of life. Future work could identify the cultural part of what is perceived as necessary by running the same study in other countries and professional environments. Further research would also be helpful to identify the potential impact and acceptability of the identified tactics.
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Dates and versions

hal-04110920 , version 1 (31-05-2023)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : hal-04110920 , version 1

Cite

Maël Madon, Patricia Lago. "We are always on, is that really necessary?" Exploring the Path to Digital Sufficiency in Flexible Work. International Conference on Information and Communications Technology for Sustainability (ICT4S 2023), Jun 2023, Rennes, France. pp.1-11. ⟨hal-04110920⟩
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