Staying “In Sync” and “In Touch”: Two Challenges for Mobile Workers

Jennifer Curtis*, Ruud Janssen
NOVAY, P.O. Box 589, 7500AN Enschede, The Netherlands.

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Curtis et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the NOVAY, P.O. Box 589, 7500AN Enschede, The Netherlands; Tel: +31 53 4850 453; Fax: +31 53 4850 400; E-mail:


This paper documents a study into the challenges for mobile workers. The main goals of the study were, firstly, to identify the consequences and challenges of mobile work - particularly with respect one's ability to stay up-to-date (“in sync”) and connected (“in touch”) with his or her distant colleagues; and secondly, to define guidelines to help target the design of potential solutions capable of addressing these challenges.

In addressing the first goal, interviews were conducted with two distinct groups of professionals - one (the “traditionalists”) that was much more conservative in their use of new tools and media than a second group, made up of highly active networkers (the “highly connected”). The conclusions which were drawn from these interviews lead to a detailed exploration of the challenges that some mobile workers face in interacting with their departmental-level colleagues. Next, findings drawn from the first phase of the study were used to help meet the second research goal. This stage included coming up with several design guidelines for solutions meant to address the identified challenges.

Keywords: Knowledge worker, mobile work, distributed work, communication, information exchange, awareness, connectedness.