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Published: 2021-12-31

Are you there? Presence in collaborative distance work

1Digital Transformation and Lifelong Learning Research Group, School of Technologies, University of Tallinn
Department of Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki
Learning Environments Research Group, Aalto University
Department of Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki
Department of Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki
Department of Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki
Department of Education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki
Research-based design tracking presence computer-mediated communication collaboration at work distance work


Already before the pandemic, digitally mediated collaborative work and communication were perceived as challenging. We investigate the attitudes towards emerging technologies and for transforming practises in workplaces. The focus lies on understanding the readiness for appropriating emotional tracking on presence and support for collaboration. The research-based design framework allowed to combine the various perspectives of the transdisciplinary team. Methods included participatory design, design thinking, contextual inquiry and prototype testing for enhancing presence while working with shared objects in video conferencing to explore the appropriation of tools. The findings revealed four indications: 1) awareness of interlocutors’ presence during synchronous communication is crucial. 2)  Emotion and behaviour tracking raises concerns about privacy and personal control over what is displayed to others, and technology could be simpler non-distracting the work at hand.  3) The prototype was found to enhance the feeling of presence without disturbing work at hand, and 4) appropriation requires a step-by-step approach.


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How to Cite

Bauters, M., Pejoska, J., Durall, E., Saarikivi, K., Wikström, V., Falcon, M., & Martikainen, S. (2021). Are you there? Presence in collaborative distance work. Human Technology, 17(3), 261–293.