The digital workplace is both a metaphor and a tangible reality. As a metaphor it refers to both virtual work (especially the interaction of content with content in meaningful and useful ways) and also the physical workplace where this involves digital interfaces (e.g. through the screen).
When I am sending an email I am in the physical workplace. I believe human beings are nearly always in the physical workplace, working with processes and content that IS in the digital workplace. When I am replying on a forum I am in the physical workplace but the metaphor of “forum” inspires my imagination a little more and I will tend to imagine my “avatar” (more or less) as “in” the forum. By the time we have several metaphors such as “Second life” and “Second life personum” etc, there is a possibility that I have imagined an aspect of my self that is a rendition of my self INTO a digital space. Here I exist in the physical workplace and in an imagined/projected “other” space. In the Matrix, this complete projection involves a forgetting of the physical space, at least for a time – a full projection or transference.
In my view, the large disappointment of virtual spaces such as Second Life lies in the fact that human beings are essentially clumsy physical beings. We don’t render well in digital spaces where processes can be much less clumsy than we ourselves. So, the digital workplace is two fold in my own ideal view of it. It is a physical place where we engage with digital content, process and technology.
And it is an ab-human place, where the citizens are content, and processes help content to interact, mapping genomes, working through decision models, behaving in artificially intelligent ways, and interfaces allow human beings, as “farmers”, to plant, tend and harvest what is there.