The /work directory in question is created by the sysdeo plugin and is therefore IDE-specific. Although AFAIK it is a relocated version of the Tomcat work directory.
I create my projects so that exploded WARs are built under a "build" project subdirectory. Since supposedly users can't look up beyond the directory containing the webapp (e.g. build/webapp), they won't see the sysdeo work directory. But in any event, this directory is part of the IDE environment and doesn't appear when you move the app to production. At that point the designated Tomcat work directory is used - assuming you've deployed to Tomcat - other appservers may operate differently.
An IDE is no substitute for an Intelligent Developer.