Family Rituals: Mobile workers’ engagement in family life at a distance

Family Rituals 2.0 is a project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council under their aim of ‘achieving work/life balance in a digitally dependent world.’    The research seeks to understand individuals’ values held in everyday rituals and how digital technologies might be used to support inclusion in these rituals for mobile workers who work in, for example, construction, the extractive industries, technology and the tourism sector.

It will explore how organisations participate in assisting a family to connect whilst the employee is away from home. The project also aims to develop prototypes to develop new configurations of existing technologies that support family rituals.

The research team is comprised of Newcastle University (School of Computer Science), Bournemouth University (School of Tourism), the University of the West of England (Centre for Transport) and the Royal College of Arts (Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design). The research will promote new understanding for employers, trade associations and support groups among others, on work-life balance for mobile workers as well as demonstrate the technological opportunities that can support mobile workers through design probes and technological prototyping.

The detailed understandings of existing technology used by mobile workers to connect to their family members, and identification of problems in existing communication offers, will be translated to develop solutions that respond to real life problems.