Title: Achieving Equilibrium: Use of Multiple Spaces and Media by FLOSS Workers to Improve Work-Life Balance
Authors: Aditya Johri, George Mason University, and Hon Jie Teo, New York College of Technology
Abstract: Participants in FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) projects are atypical in their collaborative practices given the high demand for virtual work. Through a study of workers from two organizations working on FLOSS projects we identify the boundaries, in terms of productivity and quality of life, of virtual work and actions workers take in order to find a work-life balance. We found that although workers valued the flexibility of working from home, they had difficulty focusing on their work for sustained time periods and often felt isolated. This motivated them to use coworking spaces – physical spaces used as work space by workers not on the same team or even the same firm – as a critical part of their space ecology. In conjunction with their media ecology – a mix of communication technologies including IRC – the space/media mix allowed them to balance their work and personal lives. We draw implications for better supporting FLOSS and virtual work practices through design of media/space and work practices.