With sitting balls, beer-filled fridges, ping pong tables and well-being managers entering our offices, the notion of “workplace” has shifted monumentally during the past decades. The office no longer is portrayed by grey open-plan landscapes, it is decorated to feel like home, to be comfortable, in order to keep the worker in as long as possible. It is not called “office” anymore but “workspace” (Premium Hustler, 2019, Paloma Moniz, Ricardo Gonçalves, Roxy Zeiher).
With the emergence of COVID-19 late last year, this tendency got boosted with unforeseen rapidity: work sprawled out of our computers into our homes. The home, as yet seen as one’s individual place of shelter and refuge, has transformed into a heterogenous “in-between-space” — fusing work with leisure, business with private. Although working remotely inherits a certain privilege in times like these, it also brought massive changes to our personal environments.
These blurred lines, require a redefinition of our understanding of professionalism and raise questions around its origin. What is the new standard for professionalism if it doesn’t manifest itself in the self-contained workspace anymore?