|Jacki O'Neill, David Martin, Tommaso Colombino, Antonietta Grasso|
|CHI 2011 - Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Vancouver BC, Canada, 7-12 May 2011|
In this paper we compare two departments of a public administration body carrying out similar work. In one department two sections, telephony and processing, are collocated whereas in the other they are not. We demonstrate the costs of distribution, in particular how the strictly enforced division of labour and limited visibility onto the workflow of the other section causes problems when dealing with normal, natural exceptions. The setting is one of seemingly routine bureaucratic work rather than high-skilled cooperative work, thus the impact of distribution might be considered rather surprising. We argue that a key requirement for any solution is to enable practitioners on the “shop floor” the freedom to find elegant solutions to problems.