Article

Benefits of quiet workspaces in open-plan offices – Evidence from two office relocations

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Abstract

The problems of open-plan offices are widely known. However, the factors explaining these effects have received less attention. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of office distractions in the emergence of other problems, and to examine the benefits of quiet workspaces in open-plan offices. Two organizations moved from private offices to open-plan offices that differed in the number and variety of quiet rooms. Survey data was gathered once before (N = 65 and 64) and once after the office relocation (N = 135 and 71). Perceived distractions increased in both organizations after the relocation. However, negative effects on environmental satisfaction, perceived collaboration and stress only emerged in the open-plan office where the number of quiet rooms was low. Increased distractions mediated the effects on collaboration and stress. Quiet workspaces, and the perceived ease of access to them, are associated with environmental perceptions, perceived collaboration and employee stress in open-plan offices.

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... In ABOs, employees usually have no assigned desks but switch between workspaces according to task-related needs (De Croon et al., 2005;Golden, 2007;Appel-Meulenbroek et al., 2011;Bodin Danielsson et al., 2015). However, activitybased workspace practices can also be applied in offices with assigned desks (Haapakangas et al., 2018), in which case they are referred to as combi-offices (De Been and Beijer, 2014) or multi-space offices . This type of ABO design has been studied less. ...
... As in successful organizational changes (Lewin, 1951;Kotter, 1996;Hayes, 2018), change management also plays a key role in workplace changes (Laframboise et al., 2003;van der Voordt, de Been and Maarleveld, 2012;Finch, 2012;Lahtinen et al., 2015Lahtinen et al., , 2017Kämpf-Dern and Konkol, 2017;Ruohomäki et al., 2017;Bergsten et al., 2021). This issue is typically ignored in quantitative relocation studies (Blok et al., 2009;Meijer et al., 2009;Haapakangas et al., 2018), even though the perception of change management has been shown to contribute to employee outcomes when moving to an ABO (Bull and Brown, 2012;Brunia et al., 2016;Bergsten et al., 2021;Rolfö, 2018;Wijk et al., 2020). For example, the perceived meaningfulness of the office redesign (Wijk et al., 2020), sufficient information regarding the change (Brunia et al., 2016;Rolfö, 2018;Babapour, 2019) and the quality of communication (Bull and Brown, 2012) have been associated with environmental satisfaction after relocation to an ABO. ...
... Our study is rare in that it investigated both the process and its relationship with later satisfaction with the workspaces by combining quantitative and qualitative research. The results showed that, on average, environmental satisfaction decreased in the ABO, which is in line with similar relocation studies (Haapakangas et al., 2018;Ruohomäki et al., 2019). Second, the perceptions of the process before the relocation were associated with a change in environmental satisfaction even a year after the relocation took place, complementing earlier studies, which have shown associations between the implementation process and employee satisfaction (Brunia et al., 2016;Rolfö et al., 2018;Wijk et al., 2020). ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this case study is to investigate how the personnel in an organization experienced the process of change when moving from private offices to an activity-based office (ABO) and how their perceptions of change were associated with changes in their satisfaction with the work environment a year after relocation. Design/methodology/approach A comparative pre-post study design and mixed methods were used. Survey data was obtained from 154 employees before the relocation and 146 after the relocation. The data on the 105 employees who responded to both surveys were statistically analyzed. Representatives of different units were interviewed ( n = 17) and documentary material was analyzed as complementary material. Findings The personnel’s criticisms concerned the reasons for the change, their opportunities to influence the office design and the extent to which their views were taken into account. Environmental satisfaction decreased after moving to the ABO. The personnel’s ratings of the workplace change process before the relocation were associated with the later change in environmental satisfaction. Based on logistic regression, the degree of agreement with management’s reasons for the change was the strongest predictor of the change in environmental satisfaction. Practical implications Organizations that move from private offices to an ABO should invest in high-quality change management and simultaneously develop both work and facilities. Special attention should be paid to clarifying the rationale for the change to the employees and to providing them with opportunities to influence during the change. Organizations should continue to monitor user experiences and evaluate the effects of the change after the office redesign and should take corrective action as needed. Originality/value This empirical case study is unique as it combined qualitative and quantitative methods and investigated the process of relocation and its outcomes in a one-year follow-up. This approach captured the importance of managing change and assessing the long-term effects of office redesign when moving from private offices to an ABO.
... Achieving both types of privacy can help individuals control visual exposure and accessibility, which limits external distractions and controls acoustic distribution [12][13][14] . This idea explains the close relationship between perceived privacy and job control. ...
... Distractions result from the presence, behaviors 18,19) , and movements of others 20) . The perceived lack of privacy can facilitate acute stress reactions and can be related to mental and physical health issues 14,21,22) . ...
... These items were answered on a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not satisfied at all) to 5 (totally satisfied). The privacy subscale has been used in different studies and shows validity 14,40) . The Cronbach's alpha in this study was α=0.88. ...
Article
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many employees have been required to work full- or part-time at home. This paper investigates the impact of perceived privacy on cognitive irritation and sleep problems among employees who worked from home during the pandemic. Additionally, we analyzed the role of cognitive irritation as a mediator between privacy and sleep problems. We created a cross-sectional questionnaire, which was completed by 293 employees who performed home-based telework in German-speaking Switzerland. A mediation analysis was then conducted using a multiple regression analysis. A test of the indirect effect showed a significant mediation path from perceived privacy via cognitive irritation to sleep problems. Hence, the negative indirect effect indicates that perceived privacy is an important job resource that may prevent sleep problems. Further research is needed regarding home-based telework and recovery strategies to prevent sleep problems.
... Relocation from traditional offices (private or open-plan offices) to activity-based workplaces (ABWs) is common in organisations in Western countries (Candido et al., 2018;Appel-Meulenbroek et al., 2011;Rolfö, 2018;Haapakangas et al., 2018a;Hoendervanger et al., 2016). One reason behind the implementation of ABWs in organisations is cost savings through more efficient use of office space. ...
... The existing research on ABWs focuses largely on employee perceptions of work conditions, satisfaction with the new office environment (Candido et al., 2018;Appel-Meulenbroek et al., 2011;Haapakangas et al., 2018aHaapakangas et al., , 2018bEngelen et al., 2018;Rolfö et al., 2018;Bernstein et al., 1998), and productivity (Candido et al., 2018;van der Voordt, 2004;Haapakangas et al., 2018b;Rolfö et al., 2018;Seddigh et al., 2015;Kim et al., 2016;Arundell et al., 2018;Meijer et al., 2009). However, the results on productivity are somewhat conflicting with differences in research designs and measures contributing to mixed findings. ...
... The items concerned the extent to which the manager encourages development, tests new work methods, communicates visions, discusses new ideas and propositions, and starts development projects. The items were rated on a 6-point scale (Candido et al., 2018;Appel-Meulenbroek et al., 2011;Rolfö, 2018;Haapakangas et al., 2018a;Hoendervanger et al., 2016;van der Voordt, 2004) from "do not agree" to "totally agree". After a test showing high internal consistency of the items (Cronbach's alpha 0.9) an index score was calculated as the mean of the five items. ...
Article
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Activity-based workplaces (ABWs) are becoming popular in Western countries and were implemented at four office sites of a large Swedish government agency. A fifth office was used as a control group. The study aim was to examine the effects of relocation to ABW on perceived productivity among employees and to determine if perceived change-oriented leadership behavior prior to relocation moderates potential effects. Data were collected three months prior to relocation, and three and 12 months after. 407 respondents were included in linear mixed regression models. Perceived productivity decreased significantly after relocation compared to the control group and these effects persisted 12 months after the relocation. However, the decrease in perceived productivity was significantly smaller among employees perceiving high change-oriented leadership before relocation. Our results point out the importance of a change-oriented leadership behavior during the implementation to avoid productivity loss among employees when implementing ABWs.
... For instance, studies show that user dissatisfaction appeared to be higher in open-plan offices than private offices (e.g., De Croon, Sluiter, Kuijer, & Frings-Dresen, 2005). The reasons mostly are the lack of privacy, distraction by noise (Danielsson & Bodin, 2009;Frontczak et al., 2012;Haapakangas, Hongisto, Varjo, & Lahtinen, 2018), poor air quality, inadequate thermal conditions (C. B. Danielsson & Bodin, 2009), and the amount of workspace (Charles & Veitch, 2002;Hongisto et al., 2016;Kim & de Dear, 2013). ...
... In order to understand the determinants of user satisfaction, numerous relocation studies have explored user behaviour in means of habituating to new office characteristics (e.g., Babapour et al., 2018;Haapakangas et al., 2018). Habituating to a new environment and adopting new behaviour can be difficult (Van Koetsveld & Kamperman, 2011), and can differ between individuals and teams (Appel- Meulenbroek et al., 2011;Babapour et al., 2018;Dinç, 2009;Scannell & Gifford, 2017a). ...
... The findings also support the importance of providing a variety of workplaces in the office environment, as suggested by other researchers for other (nonsmart) office types (Appel-Meulenbroek et al., 2011; Babapour et al., 2018;De Been & Beijer, 2014). Additionally, the common problems noted in the new office are the lack of privacy and distraction by noise, as in line with previous studies on open offices (Danielsson & Bodin, 2009;Frontczak et al., 2012;Haapakangas et al., 2018). ...
Article
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Smart office concepts became popular in recent decades, and organisations adopt this concept with expected benefits on users. Yet, it is unclear how users experience the relocation process to a smart office environment. This study examines user experiences during such relocation by focusing on their behaviour and satisfaction. Eleven semi-structured interviews were conducted with users after relocation to a smart office building of a Dutch Municipality. The data were analysed based on grounded theory and thematic analysis. The results reveal that the process of experiencing a smart office environment consisted of four phases: pre-relocation phase, confrontational phase, progressive phase, and stabilised phase. Each participant experienced the process differently as four different trend lines emerged related to their interpreted emotional responses throughout this process. This study concludes by advocating that the understanding of user behaviour in each phase is crucial to enhance user satisfaction when moving into a smart office. The phases further highlight the importance of understanding user expectations, and the relationships between users and workplaces before and after the relocation.
... Spatial solutions in work environments can affect well-being and productivity, but the outcomes are also affected by many other factors, such as the organization itself, individual preferences and needs, work culture and management ( Van der Voordt, 2004;Bodin Danielsson, 2010;Riratanaphong and Van der Voordt, 2012;De Been and Beijer, 2014;Brunia et al., 2016;Budie et al., 2018;Palvalin, 2019). The influence of the work environment and new ways of working on individual and organizational performance have been researched in recent years by at least Activity-based work environment the following researchers: Brunia et al. (2016), Budie et al. (2018); Haapakangas et al. (2018aHaapakangas et al. ( , 2018b; Hoendervanger et al. (2018Hoendervanger et al. ( , 2019; Palvalin (2019); and Bergsten et al. (2021). Brunia et al. (2016) explored the effects of various physical, digital and social work environment factors on employee satisfaction and perceived productivity in different ABW environments. ...
... Budie et al. (2018) analyzed the impact of individual needs on employee satisfaction and organizational performance in various physical work environments. Haapakangas et al. (2018a) examined the physical work environment and the importance of quiet spaces in an open office and the diverse variables affecting organizational performance. Further, Haapakangas et al. (2018b) explored self-rated productivity and employee well-being in the ABW environment, considering the role of environmental perceptions and workspace use. ...
... Therefore, if these expectations regarding autonomy are not fulfilled, it may cause a negative association overall. Yet, another explanation for the negative association of office presence could be that the physical work environment might not be supportive of wellbeing and productivity if the spatial solution was originally designed mainly for mobile work and does not include the right amount of spaces for privacy and concentration (Van der Voordt, 2004;Appel-Meulenbroek et al., 2011;Riratanaphong and Van der Voordt, 2012;De Been and Beijer, 2014;Brunia et al., 2016;Harris, 2016;Palvalin et al., 2017;Budie et al., 2018;Haapakangas et al., 2018aHaapakangas et al., , 2018bGroen et al., 2019;Hoendervanger et al., 2019;Palvalin, 2019). However, these assumptions need further scrutiny to investigate the causal relationships between different variables. ...
Article
Purpose Work environments are undergoing a transformation where organizations have various spatial solutions at their disposal. However, organizations may have challenges in making the right decisions in a work environment change, when the spatial solution is only one dimension of the work environment. The purpose of this paper is to approach this problem in a holistic way and explain the relationship between work environment changes and the development of organizational performance in the activity-based work (ABW) environment. Design/methodology/approach The results are based on an extensive quantitative survey involving 471 participants. The survey was theory driven and built on former literature. The participants were randomly collected from the largest cities in Finland, and the data were analyzed with a regression analysis. Findings The results showed that ABW environments require no more attention to the different work environment dimensions when compared to other office types, with the exception of the social work environment; the changes of which have a relatively strong relationship with the development of organizational well-being. In the ABW environment, a change in the physical work environment has a stronger relationship with the development of organizational productivity and a change in the social work environment has a stronger relationship with the development of organizational well-being than a change in the other work environment dimensions. Originality/value This study yields empirical evidence of the relationship of physical, digital and social work environment changes with the development of organizational performance in the ABW environment. The value of this paper is that it offers a simple but holistic research model to distinguish the outcomes between the different work environment dimensions so that relevant expertise is applied to take concrete and targeted action.
... Some examples of related topics that have been studied in recent years are multi-locational work, multi-space offices and the effects of digital tools and applications; all of which have the potential to both support cognitive functioning or, respectively, substantially disperse and consume it (see e.g. Bosch Sijtsema, Ruohomäki &Vartiainen, 2010; Boutellier, Ullman, Schreiber & Naef, 2008;Haapakangas, Hongisto, Varjo & Lahtinen, 2018;Moisala et al., 2016;Pashler, 1994). In present-day working life, many employees need support for learning skills such as cognitive load management and stress management (Sparks, Faragher & Cooper, 2001), and for using modern tools (Ananiadou & Claro, 2009). ...
... Koroma, Hyrkkänen & Vartiainen, 2014). Other challenges posed by modern environments and tools may include adverse effects of multitasking on productivity and well-being (Moisala et al., 2016), inadequate work environments or tools for different types of tasks (Haapakangas, Hongisto, Varjo & Lahtinen, 2018;Koroma, Hyrkkänen & Vartiainen, 2014), lack of support or connection with colleagues (Koroma, Hyrkkänen & Vartiainen, 2014), or ineffective boundaries between work and rest (Vartiainen & Hyrkkänen, 2010;Zijlstra & Sonnentag, 2006). However, it is important to note that environments and tools alone do not determine the quality of activity; the social practices in how they are used play a crucial role (Hakkarainen, 2009). ...
... However, although it is not tied to a specific time and place as such, it is greatly influenced by a number of things in a given environment and tools (e.g. Haapakangas, Hongisto, Varjo & Lahtinen, 2018;Hutchins, 2001;Koroma, Hyrkkänen & Vartiainen, 2014;Moisala et al., 2016;Olson & Olson, 2000;Powell, Piccoli & Ives, 2004;Vartiainen & Hyrkkänen, 2010). Naturally, in the same way as the individual is not separate from the physical environment, the physical environment is not a separate entity but is embedded in the social environment and the culture of the community using the spaces and tools (e.g. ...
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Doctoral dissertation. The Doctoral Programme in Psychology, Learning and Communication, University of Helsinki.
... Of cause, demands and resources of the OSO environment could buffer or enhance other work-related demands and resources. Conceptually, office size and openness (leading to more distraction, noise and limited privacy) should be considered demands, whereas control over one's workstation (e.g., desk-sharing, number of alternative working options) could be considered resources (e.g., [8,24,29]). Although, the JD-R model predicts specific single resources and demands that influence salutogenetic outcomes, usually, workplaces -including OSOs -provide both demands and C o r r e c t e d P r o o f resources that act in unison. ...
... Importantly, job demands and resources contributed more to wellbeing than objective and subjective features of the office environment. This aligns with studies (e.g., [21,29]) that also found no or a small influence of features of the office environment on well-being when accounting for classical job demands and resources. ...
Article
Background: There has been a trend to implement open space offices: wide-spread office floors with modern and colourful furniture. However, there is limited scientific knowledge on the effects of Open Space Offices (OSO). Studies are scare and show heterogeneous results. Objective: By using the Job Demands-Resources model as a conceptual framework, the present study aimed at investigating the influence of subjective and objective features of the OSO (i.e., office size, desk-sharing, openness) next to classical psychosocial working conditions (i.e., demands, resources) on irritation and subjective well-being. Methods: Cross-sectional and longitudinal data out of four different organisations (490 participants, 43.73 years of age, SD = 12.02) were used. Results: Results showed that both features of the OSO and working conditions play a role in well-being at work. In line with current studies, job demands and resources contributed more to irritation and subjective well-being than features of the OSO. Conclusion: The influence of traditional psychosocial working conditions has so far been neglected in research on OSOs. However, their contribution to employees' well-being next to features of the OSO could explain the heterogeneous findings of the existing research on well-being in OSOs. Thus, when implementing OSOs, employees' well-being can only be enhanced if working conditions are targeted in parallel.
... A study reported that noise has a negative effect on office employees' productivity [11]. Haapakangas stated that noise had a negative effect on employees' ability to focus on the manner of performing their tasks [12]. In addition, Seddigh reported that office noise increased frustration and stress among employees [13]. ...
... Pierrette developed a questionnaire and proved its validity and reliability. Many studies have used this type of questionnaire [10,12,15,18,[24][25][26][27][28]. Using this questionnaire, Braat found that 38% of people suffered from noise annoyance in their work environment. ...
Article
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Background: Today, open-plan offices are among the most common work environments. Although the noise in these environments is usually below the standard level, it is one of the critical annoyance factors due to the nature of the mental work. Accordingly, this study aimed to assess noise effects on employee comfort and validate the Persian version of the assessment of noise effects on employee comfort in the open-plan office questionnaire in Iran. Materials & Methods: The present descriptive study was conducted in an open-plan office in Shiraz, in 2021. We distributed questionnaires among 66 employees. Besides, we translated the questionnaire using the backward-forward technique, with the alpha coefficient and the intra-class correlation used to measure reliability. Finally, we used the Kappa, Spearman, and Mann-Whitney tests in SPSS V22.0 for data analysis. Results: The validity of the questionnaire items was evaluated as acceptable using Kappa and Spearman's coefficients. Besides, the reliability of the questionnaire, using the ICC and the alpha coefficient, was 0.876 and 0.930, respectively. In this study, the employees were sensitive to noise, and their overall satisfaction with their physical conditions was moderate. In total, 47% of the employees considered the noise level of their working environment high and very high, and 35% considered it annoying or very annoying. Conclusions: The findings of the present study showed that the questionnaire was an effective and reliable tool for noise annoyance assessments in office environments. Besides, we can use this tool to determine improvements required in open-plan offices and to evaluate the efficiency of these improvements.
... A study reported that noise has a negative effect on office employees' productivity [11]. Haapakangas stated that noise had a negative effect on employees' ability to focus on the manner of performing their tasks [12]. In addition, Seddigh reported that office noise increased frustration and stress among employees [13]. ...
... Pierrette developed a questionnaire and proved its validity and reliability. Many studies have used this type of questionnaire [10,12,15,18,[24][25][26][27][28]. Using this questionnaire, Braat found that 38% of people suffered from noise annoyance in their work environment. ...
Article
Background: Today, open-plan offices are among the most common work environments. Although the noise in these environments is usually below the standard level, it is one of the critical annoyance factors due to the nature of the mental work. Accordingly, this study aimed to assess noise effects on employee comfort and validate the Persian version of the assessment of noise effects on employee comfort in the open-plan office questionnaire in Iran. Materials & Methods: The present descriptive study was conducted in an open-plan office in Shiraz, in 2021. We distributed questionnaires among 66 employees. Besides, we translated the questionnaire using the backward-forward technique, with the alpha coefficient and the intra-class correlation used to measure reliability. Finally, we used the Kappa, Spearman, and Mann-Whitney tests in SPSS V22.0 for data analysis. Results: The validity of the questionnaire items was evaluated as acceptable using Kappa and Spearman's coefficients. Besides, the reliability of the questionnaire, using the ICC and the alpha coefficient, was 0.876 and 0.930, respectively. In this study, the employees were sensitive to noise, and their overall satisfaction with their physical conditions was moderate. In total, 47% of the employees considered the noise level of their working environment high and very high, and 35% considered it annoying or very annoying. Conclusions: The findings of the present study showed that the questionnaire was an effective and reliable tool for noise annoyance assessments in office environments. Besides, we can use this tool to determine improvements required in open-plan offices and to evaluate the efficiency of these improvements.
... It is obvious that the role of libraries has changed, and together with the change in the role, the acoustic environment in libraries has itself changed. Consequently, social aspects and psychological consequences in such spaces need to be studied [20]. In the study [7], Markhan defines the comfortable acoustic environment in a library as an environment that provides freedom from distraction, but this distraction will not disturb users reading or studying in the library. ...
... The main sources of unwanted distraction are caused by the presence of other people [20], and include irrelevant speech, noises associated with moving, telephone ringing, etc. The background noise component formed by technical equipment [21] (e.g. ...
Article
The function of libraries has changed considerably in recent decades. This article presents the case study of the acoustic properties of the National Library of Technology (NTK), built in 2009, visited by more than 2000 users daily. From the acoustic point of view, these are coupled spaces, with horizontally structured spaces, which allow for dividing the space into zones according to the function of use. Through their openness, the individual floors can partially be viewed as open-space offices. Moreover, all floors are connected by a common central atrium, which is the cause of the mentioned acoustic coupling. Undesirable and annoying noise is one of the fundamental problems of these spaces. This article deals with the relationship between the number of visitors, noise in a given space and its acoustic parameters and the impact of these parameters on acoustic comfort, which is a compromise between RT, STI and noise.
... Based on their size and accommodating capacity, open layout offices can be divided into small (4-9 people), medium (10-24 people) and large (more than 24 people) offices. 2 Despite continuous discussions on open-plan offices, specifically whether they boost collaboration and productivity or negatively affect employees' satisfaction level, this mode of office space design has been trending over the past decades. [3][4][5][6][7][8] Indoor air quality (IAQ) and thermal comfort (TC) are major aspects of indoor environmental quality (IEQ) that directly affect office occupants' health, comfort and productivity. [9][10][11] In the previous century, mechanical systems provided acceptable TC and healthy indoor conditions for office users, resulting in large amounts of energy usage and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) generation. ...
... Previous studies addressed open-plan offices primarily from sociological and psychosocial perspectives, [2][3][4][5][6][7][8] with a few of them dealing with the indoor environmental performance. 9,[20][21][22][23] Nevertheless, IEQ aspects affect open-plan office employees' health, comfort and productivity. ...
Article
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The hybrid philosophy behind the mixed-mode (MM) strategy aims at achieving energy-efficient buildings and sustainable development. A performance-based open-plan office design facilitates the handling of multiple design parameters to identify optimal design solutions for effective MM offices. This research presents a method of open-plan office design for an improved natural ventilation potential and reduced supplementary heating/cooling loads in the early design stage within a Mediterranean climate. Different design variables including office size, layout aspect ratio, window orientation and fraction of window opening, with several factor levels, were studied. The design of experiment developed by the Taguchi method was applied to define the most informative simulation scenarios. Analysis of variance was utilised to indicate the effectiveness of each design parameter, while the signal-to-noise ratio approach identified the near-optimal level combinations that support informed decision-making. Suggested by the EN 15251:2007 standard, the hourly dynamic simulations were conducted using TAS Engineering. The measurement criteria included airflow rate, carbon dioxide (CO 2) levels, adaptive thermal comfort and airconditioning (AC) loads. The calculated indicator was the number of hours in which a specific performance criterion is met during the occupancy period and the AC loads.
... Analysis of the ABW concept based on sociomateriality benefits the understanding of ABW because the concept provides various workplace settings with different features. The strategies can include office layouts, such as traditional enclosed office and open-plan office (Bernstein and Turban, 2018;Haapakangas et al., 2018b) and activity-based workplace (De Been et al., 2015;Haapakangas et al., 2018a; Workplace studies Hallman et al., 2018;Rolfo, 2018;Candido et al., 2019). This variety of workplace settings gives researchers an opportunity to test different environmental settings within an organization. ...
... In addition to the effects of materiality and social practice on the outcome of the worker, individual attributes may also affect experience and outcome in the process (Datta Gupta and Kristensen, 2008;Bluyssen et al., 2011;De Been and Beijer, 2014). Demographic factors, such as gender and age, have an impact on the perception of IEQ (Kim et al., 2013), while Haapakangas et al. (2018b) found that gender and age did not affect productivity and wellbeing in ABW settings. Even though studies show inconsistency in their results, individual attributes should be considered because they may influence the outcome in the workplace. ...
Article
Purpose This paper aims to propose a theoretical framework for workplace research based on sociomateriality. Sociomateriality is a theory to explain the effects of social practice and materiality in an organization. Workplace studies in facility management (FM) can adopt this theory to understand the complex relationships between physical work environments and human factors. Design/methodology/approach Review of sociomateriality was conducted to understand the connection to existing workplace studies in FM. This study addresses the components of the workplace through the sociomateriality perspective. Findings The main focuses in sociomateriality theory are materiality and social practice. For workplace concepts specifically in FM, workplaces and their components are a material agency, and work and workers are a social practice agency. By considering both materiality and sociality in workplace environments, researchers can understand office dynamics and interrelationships. Lastly, two statistical analysis methods are suggested to analyze the framework: structural equation modeling and multilevel analysis. Originality/value To understand the human–environment relationship, it is essential to consider both materiality and social practice perspectives simultaneously. The proposed framework can be a foundation to explain the complex interactions between the physical environment and human factors of workers in individual organizations.
... Next to having a shared or dedicated room and ergonomic furniture, several other workspace characteristics can cause distractions. At the office, high noise levels or extreme temperatures have been reported as distracting (Haapakangas et al. 2018;Clements-Croome 2006). Employees use several mechanisms to cope with these distractions, such as wearing headphones, coming to work earlier, or WFH (Oseland and Hodsman 2018). ...
... Office-related noise -conversations between colleagues, background noise, e-mails, and phone calls coming in -and a lack of speech privacy increase workspace distractions (Haapakangas et al. 2018;Haynes, Suckley, and Nunnington 2017). High intelligibility (i.e. ...
Article
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Previous research showed that office workers are mainly distracted by noise, influencing their mental health. Little investigation has been done into the influence of other workspace characteristics (i.e., temperature, amount of space, visual privacy, adjustability of furniture, wall colours, and workspace cleanliness) on distractions at the office, and even fewer while working from home (WFH). The influence of home-workspace distractions on mental health also received limited attention. This research aims to investigate relationships between home-workspace and personal characteristics, distraction, and mental health while WFH during COVID-19. A path analysis approach was used, to find that, at home, employees were distracted by noise and when having a small desk. Those with a dedicated workroom were less distracted. Distractions mediated most relationships between home-workspace characteristics and mental health, while personal characteristics influenced mental health directly. Employers can use these results to redesign policies regarding home-and-office working to stimulate a healthy work-environment.
... Also, Haapakangas, Hongisto, Varjo, & Lahtinen (2018) reported that providing quiet spaces is associated with reducing occupants stress in shared offices. Thus, it can be assumed that providing quiet spaces can help healthcare professionals to relieve stress. ...
... However, healthcare staff needs to have quiet spaces since they need a place to retreat from stressful work and to recover emotionally. Healthcare staff is continuously faced with stress as their work significantly relates to people's lives (Aziz, 2004;Hammouni, 2020;Moores et al., 2007) and providing quiet spaces is associated with reducing occupants stress in shared offices (Haapakangas et al., 2018). ...
Research
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Compared to the rapidly developing commercial offices, office workplaces in universities and hospitals have changed only slightly. However, demands for new office workplaces in universities and hospitals are growing due to changed work processes and communication, changed organizational structures, new technologies, increased cost pressure, and the requirements of a modern knowledge society. This working paper reviews drivers and barriers of new ways of working in universities' and hospitals' office workplaces. To identify the latest drivers and barriers, this working paper reviews not only academic papers but also industry reports. This literature review determines six drivers of new academic workplaces: New way of working; new methods of teaching and communicating with students; cost pressure and need for space management; generation shift; internationalization; sustainable development and carbon reduction commitments. The literature review also addresses functional, cultural, hierarchical, and emotional reasons for resistance to introducing new academic workplaces. Next, this literature review identifies four drivers of new hospital office workplaces: Shortage of healthcare workforce; development of technologies; constant pressure and need for space management; need for diverse work settings. Besides, the literature review addresses barriers of new office workplaces in hospitals: change-reluctant organizational culture; clear hierarchical organizational structure; rapid change in IT; high perceived risk of first-time application of new office concept; cultural change; and financial restrictions. These findings suggested that Activity-Based Working (ABW) can be appropriate for office workplaces in universities and hospitals since ABW is acknowledged by increasing staff interaction; providing quiet places for solo-concentrated work; improving staff health and well-being; reducing space cost, and flexibility to change. Overall, this working paper emphasizes the need for new ways of working in universities' and hospitals' office workplaces and showed that barriers and resistance to introducing new office workspace should not be overlooked.
... ABWs generally accommodate users with less workstations, compared with traditional working environments; therefore, some popular workstations easily become insufficient [10]. The lack of specific workstations means some users have to work in overcrowded spaces, where they are frequently distracted by noise, and their privacy is not guaranteed [33,44]. Moreover, in this situation, space designed for a specific activity is frequently used for a different purpose, and thus cannot effectively support users' activity. ...
Article
To plan successful activity-based workplaces (ABW), architects need to clearly understand user-specific activity patterns through the accurate recognition of user activity. Because user activity is closely associated with space, equipment, and users, such diverse activity-related information should be essentially considered for accurate activity recognition. However, previous activity recognition methods have limitations for accurately recognizing user activity for ABW planning, because they only relied on sensor-estimated data and are, therefore, unable to comprehensively consider diverse activity-related information. The study thus integrates site investigation and sensor estimation using a Bluetooth Low Energy beacon and accelerometer for accurately recognizing user activity based on diverse activity-related information. We defined five important items of activity-related information (user actions, number of nearby users, function of space, equipment located in space, and space use policy) and developed a user-specific activity pattern generation (UAPG) framework consisting of three stages: (1) the preparation stage, (2) sensor-estimation stage, and (3) activity pattern generation stage. The demonstration was conducted through scenario-based experiments in an academic office building. In the demonstration, the UAPG framework achieved 91.8 percent of activity recognition accuracy and successfully generated user-specific activity patterns. In addition, information regarding space usage, proportion of activities, and spatial preference of the user was generated based on a user-specific activity pattern. Such objective information provided by the UAPG framework enables evidence-based ABW planning that efficiently accommodates users with minimal office space, while simultaneously increasing their satisfaction and productivity.
... A study considered the effect of 'quiet rooms' found that their presence protects against the higher stress, environmental dissatisfaction and poorer collaboration observed in open-plan designs (Haapakangas et al., 2018). Similarly, activity-based flexible offices may have benefits for wellbeing, satisfaction, motivation, and performance, particularly when they support team-based activities. ...
... In fact, the dissatisfaction rate of "sound privacy" from occupants working in spaces with high partitions (>1.5 m) was still high (D = 28 %) in this study. Alternatively, having several easily-available, temporary, quiet offices could provide employees with a quiet place for times when deep focus is needed, while still affording space for collaborative environments within the whole workspace [46]. In addition, establishing behaviour protocol for sound privacy in the office, paired with acoustical treatment on sound absorbing ceilings and walls (or even sound masking systems), could also significantly enhance acoustic comfort in workspace [47]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding occupants’ satisfaction with their environment is an important step to improve indoor environmental quality (IEQ). These satisfaction data are limited to Singaporean commercial buildings. We surveyed (N = 666) occupant satisfaction with 18 IEQ parameters in seven Green Mark certified air-conditioned commercial buildings in Singapore. About 78 % of the participants expressed satisfaction with their overall workspace environment. Occupants were most satisfied with flexibility of dress code (86 % satisfaction), electrical lighting (84 %) and cleanliness (82 %), and most dissatisfied with sound privacy (42 % dissatisfaction), personal control (32 %) and temperature (30 %). We found that satisfaction with cleanliness has the highest impact to overall workspace environment satisfaction. Our results suggest achieving high occupant satisfaction for some IEQ factors is harder than others, which suggests the premise of singular satisfaction rating (e.g., 80 %) that applies to all IEQ parameters may not be reliable and representative. We determined that the major contributors to thermal dissatisfaction were insufficient air movement and overcooled workspaces. Occupants in open plan office were unhappy with the noise produced by their nearby colleagues. We also found that several IEQ variables (odors, air movement, available space, overall privacy, sound privacy and temperature) which are not statistically significant to the overall workspace satisfaction on their own, but their impacts becomes substantial when these IEQ variables are merged into larger environmental factors (i.e., Perceived Air Quality, Acoustics, Layout and Thermal). These results can support the development of an IEQ benchmarks for commercial buildings in Singapore.
... Such situations, together with the predisposition of informants to deal with occasional distractions at their desks, made these quiet rooms somehow meaningless. This contradicts the studies on offices for flexible working where employees shared a number of spaces for interaction and quiet rooms were found necessary for employees to work in a concentrated way and to be satisfied with the office (Haapakangas et al., 2018;Rolfö et al., 2018). The latter cases do not correspond to university settings, but still share need for concentration. ...
Article
This study reports on a group of university employees, six months after their relocation from cell-offices into a combi-office. Data from interviews, observations and planning documentation was collected to gain an in-depth understanding of how employees use their office landscape and why. Activity theory was taken as framework for the analysis. The findings show that the new office landscape was perceived to be more flexible and capable of supporting employees' activities. The overall occupancy was low and backup spaces, such as quiet rooms, were barely used. Matches and mismatches between the employees, their activities and the office were identified that explain the occupancy rates and why spaces such as quiet rooms were unpopular spaces. This paper contributes with rich detail on the use of a flexible office landscape in a university context and shows the usefulness of activity theory in the study of employee-office interactions. Keywords: office use, office landscape, flexible office, flexible working, combi-office, spatial attributes, activity theory, post-relocation study
... Indeed, a recent stream of research examining activity-based workspaces (ABWs), where employees have no assigned desk space but access multiple work environments, shows how fit between work task and work setting generates outcomes. For example, fit between employees' needs for privacy and quiet space and the availability of such settings increases performance (Hoendervanger et al., 2019), reduces employee stress and distractions, and heightens environmental satisfaction (Haapakangas et al., 2018). More broadly, Gerdenitsch et al. (2018) show that ABW-type settings encourage better employee fit between task and workspace, increasing perceived interactions and workspace satisfaction. ...
Article
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Purpose – Although the physical environment provides an important context for employees’ work, there remain divergent findings regarding how different spatial settings, such as more open or more closed workspaces, impact employees. Employing research on the functions of the physical work environment, we contribute to a growing body of research on employees’ interactions with their workspace by developing and measuring the notion of person–space fit (P-S fit). This construct affords examination of the multi-dimensional nature of employees’ interactions with their workspaces, to understand how their perceived fit with the key functions of their workspace impacts their experiences and social network activity at work. Design/methodology/approach – We first develop a new P-S fit scale and test its factorial, discriminant and incremental validity over other person–environment fit concepts (N 5 155). Next, in a naturally-occurring, quasi-field experiment of a workspace change intervention moving employees from predominantly closed workspace to more open workspace (N 5 47 pre-move; N 5 37 post-move), we examine how changes in both workspace layout and P-S fit impact workers’ experiences of their workspaces (needs for task privacy and spaciousness) and collaborative behaviors (social network activity). Findings – Our P-S fit scale consists of theoretically and empirically validated dimensions representing fit with four workspace functions: aesthetic fit; identity fit; instrumental fit and collaboration fit. Instrumental fit is positively associated with experiences of task privacy, whereas aesthetic fit and identity fit positively associated with experiences of spaciousness, but no forms of fit were related to social network activity. However, the findings show that work-related social network ties tended to decrease, and new ones were less likely to form, in open office spaces. Originality/value – Contributing to a growing body of research linking person–environment fit literature to workspace design, this study offers a new scale assessing P-S fit and provides some empirical evidence of its importance for understanding the complexity of the employee-work environment interaction. Keywords Employment, Organizational behavior, Social networks, Knowledge workers, Person– environment fit
... The open-plan office is a workspace with the features of nearly no defined space partitions, such as hedges, fences, or walls, and preferring to abandon small, enclosed rooms and widen boundaries [9]. Compared with the traditional cubicle office, open-plan office reflects another kind of work environment that vary substantially in its spatial structure and functional features [5]. ...
Article
Sound distraction is often seen as an enemy of productivity, especially in the open-plan office. The present study involves a laboratory experiment exploring the effect of six kinds of typical background sound in the office on concentration and verbal reasoning performance. The six different sound were classified into the music group, including running water sound (RW), pure classic music (PM), classic music with lyrics (ML), and noise group, including intelligible speech (IS), mechanical noise of keyboard and printer (MN), and telephone ring (TR). During the experiment, they were presented at three different levels: 40 dBA, 50 dBA, and 60 dBA. Additionally, ambient sound at 30 dBA was designed as the control group. A total of 79 subjects were recruited to conduct a neurobehavioral experiment. Feature match (FM) tests and grammatical reasoning (GR) tests were used respectively to detect subjects' concentration level and verbal reasoning performance, including accuracy and efficiency. After each subtest, subjects were invited to rate their activation and annoyance for the test. Results indicated that sound type and sound intensity both had significant effects on the accuracy and efficiency of concentration and verbal reasoning. 1) the noise group exhibited higher task performance loss than the music group, especially the IS. 2) High intensity generally brought higher accuracy and verbal reasoning loss. 3) Background sound brought higher activation while sound at 60 dBA brought a negative activation rating. 4)Background sound bright high annoyance when the intensity was over 50 dBA. 5) PM was more favorable for the enhancement of concentration and verbal reasoning than ML.
... Availability of quality management plan for the relocation process "quality checks"(MARIS INTERIORS LLP, 2014), "quality of the goods and services produced"(Elena Patiño-Rodriguez & Jesus Guevara Carazas, 2019), "clear quality and experience specifications" (Jancey et al., 2016). "perceived quality" (Haapakangas, Hongisto, Varjo, & Lahtinen, 2018), "quality of construction" (TAQEEM, 2016), "improve the quality of planning, programming, design, construction and occupancy of the office workplace", "improve quality and ensure value for money" (Hassanain, 2010b), "high quality premises would be good for the external image but" (Christersson & Rothe, 2012b), , "Rich high quality finishes"(CBRE, Kinnarps, Mikomax Smart Office, Nowy Styl Group et al., 2014), "quality of space" According to (ASTM international, 2003) quality assurance (QA) as "all those planned or systematic actions necessary to provide adequate confidence that a material, product, system, or service will satisfy given needs". ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Organizational workplace relocation can be a hectic process. It requires a lot of organized efforts and planning to be succefully implemented without disrupting organizational service; critical due to its complex demands for coordination between several stakeholders, especially in large organizations. The relocation process takes place over three phases during its life cycle, namely the pre-location phase, relocation phase and post-relocation phase. Each phase has different set of influential factors (a total of thirty-four) that were identified through the review of related literature and assessed by (a total of sixty-four) high profile professionals in Saudi Arabia. Knowledge of these factors have the potential to influence the effectiveness of the relocation process in terms of time, cost and organizational individuals satisfaction. Published literature indicated the lack of studies on frameworks, which tackle the process of organizational workplace relocation holistically. Thus, the developed framework is proposed taking into consideration the activities conducted during each of the phases, so that organizational facility managers and real estate professionals can use it as a guide, for the planning and implementation of the workplace relocation process. The framework is validated in this study as a standard methodology - from realizing the need to relocate, through its full implementation, toward a satisfactory occupation - by (twelve) high profile professionals; who were in consensus on the applicability and wide coverage of the framework on the framework.
... Aktuelle Vorher-nachher-Studien (u. a. Wohlers & Hertel, 2018, Haapakangas et al., 2018, Rolfö et al., 2018, Windlinger et al., 2017 zeigen, dass gut auf die Bedürfnisse der Mitarbeitenden abgestimmte aktivitätsorientierte Büroräume durchaus akzeptiert werden und positive Auswirkungen in Bezug auf gesundheitliche Parameter und auf die selbst eingeschätzte Leistungsfähigkeit haben können. Als kritische Gestaltungsfaktoren haben sich die Vermeidung einer zu hohen Sprachverständlichkeit («acoustic privacy»), ein Angebot von Flächen für konzentriertes Arbeiten im Sinne von «Deep Work» sowie von Flächen für Teamarbeit und Zusammenarbeit herausgestellt. ...
... Moreover, Yildirim et al. [29] reported higher satisfaction with a workspace from those with higher partitions, implying better privacy led to higher satisfaction. Haapakangas et al. [30] suggested that quiet workspaces in open-plan offices might provide better coping and improve the work environment. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study aimed to investigate the associations between physical acoustic factors, job characteristics, and job satisfaction. Acoustic measurements and questionnaire surveys were conducted in 12 open-plan offices. Active noise levels (LAeq,8-hour), reverberation time (T20), and speech privacy-related measures such as D2,S and Lp,A,S,4m were measured at each office. A total of 324 employees then completed the online questionnaire surveys. The questionnaire assessed perceived speech privacy, noise disturbance, job characteristics, and job satisfaction. The measures of job characteristics involved skill variety, task identity, task significance, and autonomy. The results showed that active noise level (LAeq,8-hour) was negatively correlated with job satisfaction. Also, job satisfaction showed a negative correlation with speech privacy, whereas the relationship between job satisfaction and noise disturbance was not significant. It was also observed that the relationship between task identity and job satisfaction was moderated by the active noise level and speech privacy.
... Other studies also argued that providing the opportunity to meet colleagues through space layout did not lead to better communication among them (Blok et al., 2012;Kwon and Remøy, 2019). Worker interaction did not compensate for a negative impact of noise and privacy issues (Kim and de Dear, 2013) and an increase in distraction indirectly weakened collaboration (Haapakangas et al., 2018) in open-plan offices. ...
Article
Purpose This study aims to investigate the performance of open-plan office layouts and to identify occupants’ concerns in existing open-plan office layouts. Design/methodology/approach Workplace activity questionnaire (WAQ) was administered in the form of an online survey in March 2019, as part of a design briefing process for the expansion of the office facilities located in Bangalore, India, for a Fortune 100 software technology company. A total of 4,810 questionnaires were distributed and 3,877 responses were received (80.6% response rate). After that, 849 incomplete responses were eliminated from the analysis, resulting in a final sample size of 3,028. The questionnaire included 11 key activities conducted by the office workers and established the gap between the workers’ perceived importance and support from their existing facilities using a five-point Likert scale. Findings The findings of this study provide strong evidence that different physical environments influence the satisfaction of occupants. An improvement of the facilities, especially by enabling areas for quiet working, should be prioritized in relation to the other activities surveyed. Also, office workers perceived significantly different support levels for quiet working depending on their department, while there was no significant difference between the workers of different buildings. Research limitations/implications Individual demographic information was not collected because of the possibility of personal identification. There was also a lack of objective environmental measures, such as temperature and noise level. Thus, the quality of indoor environments was unknown. In this study, some respondents mentioned dissatisfaction with indoor environmental quality, including noise, temperature and air quality in their comments. Originality/value In the programming stage of a workplace design process, the WAQ survey tool has value because it renders important insight into the perception of a live workplace, which can then be used to determine priorities for a design effort. It clearly identifies the areas to focus on, ask questions about and develop improvements. Validating its reliability will enhance its credibility and confidence in its use. In addition, the large sample size provides statistical advantages in the data analysis, providing a higher likelihood to find a true positive of the findings of the study. Also, having a relatively high response rate provides an advantage of mitigating the risk of having non-response bias in the analysis.
... The office environment has an impact on satisfaction, and this supports productivity. On the open office model, employees are more satisfied with communication, but noise is still one of the obstacles (Banbury, S. P., and Berry, D. C., 2005;De Been, I., and Beijer, M., 2014;Haapakangas, A., Hongisto, V., Varjo, J., and Lahtinen, M., 2018). Psychologically reduce employee privacy and reduce job satisfaction. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study aims to understand the internal employee qualification and separated all external factors like acoustic, thermal comfort, layout, air quality, and lighting surrounding the employee when adapting to open office. The questionnaire distributed on-line purposive given to those working in an open office environment. Some snowballing effect is happening, and we get 138 respondents. Structured equation modeling used for the hypothesis test. Results show that external factors are more influential in terms of adaptation to the concept of open office compared to internal conditions such as age, gender, length of career, and length of service. Only the level of position had a strong influence on the adaptation to open office internally. Company management needs to pay attention to the design layout, airflow, and lighting to add an atmosphere that matches the current millennial conditions and liking. Considering position level have a significant impact on internal employee qualification, then someone in the top leadership position would be able to influence junior level of adaptation to open office.
... In particular, creating sufficient supply of closed work settings for individual high-concentration work and, to a lesser extent, for non-individual work, deserves the attention of workplace professionals. For individual high-concentration work, this may include both private "concentration rooms" and shared "library rooms" (i.e., where only working in silence is allowed; Haapakangas, Hongisto, et al., 2018). Alternatively, individual high-concentration work might be facilitated by quiet open work settings; however, it is typically difficult to enforce strict non-speech and non-interruption rules in such work settings (Babapour Chafi & Rolfö, 2019). ...
Article
While activity-based working is gaining popularity worldwide, research shows that workers frequently experience a misfit between the task at hand and their work setting. In the current study, experience sampling data were used to examine how perceived fit in activity-based work environments is related to user behavior (i.e., the use of work settings and setting-switching). We found that workers’ perceived fit was higher when they used closed rather than open work settings for individual high-concentration work. Furthermore, more frequent setting-switching was related to higher perceived fit. Unexpectedly, however, this relation was observed only among workers low in activity-switching. These findings indicate that user behavior may indeed be relevant to creating fit in activity-based work environments. To optimize workers’ perceived fit, it seems to be particularly important to facilitate and stimulate the use of closed work settings for individual high-concentration work.
... In line with Haapakangas et al. (2018), office distractions are essentially environmental demands that can produce additional negative effects. Furthermore, environmental dissatisfaction can influence workers' attitudes toward changes in conditions, which affects perception of the thermal environment and influences the self-assessed productivity of office occupants. ...
Article
This study examines the perceived productivity of office occupants in moderate thermal environments in Chile. Specifically, it analyses environmental parameters and contrasts participants’ self-reported answers to cross-sectional and retrospective questionnaires. To this end, data were collected for one day in winter and one day in summer, in eighteen office buildings in the cities of Concepción and Santiago. The results show that the average operative temperatures are 22.2 °C in winter and 23.5 °C in summer. 80.5% of the occupants declared their productivity to be normal on the cross-sectional survey. However, on the retrospective survey, 82.7% said that their productivity is affected by the thermal environment. To reveal the interrelationships between perceived productivity and the thermal environment, a categorical principal components analysis was carried out. It demonstrated that there is only a relationship between cross-sectional and retrospective productivity in winter. Subsequently, a good-fitting structural equation model was created, which showed that different relationships exist between the variables. These findings could enable organizations and design professionals to better understand occupants’ perceived productivity in relation to thermal conditions in office buildings.
... Meditation is a simple and quick method that helps reduce the stress of daily work while bringing a sense of inner peace [34]. Figure 4. ...
Article
Full-text available
Happiness is a natural human right that all seek to achieve. The quality of people’s lives may be directly affected by the quality of their working life, which is affected by the quality of their work environment. This has become the focus of attention of work institutions in society due to its great importance and strong impact on success. The purpose of this study was to investigate the institutional work environment at King Faisal University by surveying faculty and staff members regarding their opinions on meeting their environmental and functional needs at work by improving the interior design of workspaces to create happiness in the work environment. The aim of this study was to reveal the relationship between employees’ performance levels and their work environment, in addition to making happiness and quality of life major priorities and creating a stimulating work environment. The researcher used descriptive analysis to analyze the relationship between aspects of work and the levels of job satisfaction and happiness among employees of King Faisal University. The researcher used a five-point Likert scale to measure the responses to the questionnaire items, and reached several conclusions, including that the level of job happiness at King Faisal University is not affected by the variables of gender, social status, or the nature of the job, and that the university provides a work environment that helps achieve job happiness and allows for job innovation and creativity.
... Lucas and Heady (2002) found no significant relationship between flexitime working environments and commuting satisfaction, whereas, Morris and Guerra (2015) found the total affect scores (positive and negative) of work-related travel to be lower than other non-work-related travel. Other studies also analyzed the relationship between workplace satisfaction, workplace attachment, workplace environment and design, and satisfaction with the commute (Gerber et al., 2020;Haapakangas et al., 2018;Phillips et al., 2010;Spreckelmeyer, 1993;Wallmann-sperlich et al., 2019). However, workplace attachment and workplace satisfaction are not indicative of an individual's employment characteristics. ...
Article
Although the majority of literature explains travel satisfaction by examining trip determinants, the interaction between travel satisfaction and satisfaction with other life domains has been analyzed less frequently. Accounting for satisfaction with other life domains is nevertheless important because the effect of trip characteristics on travel satisfaction may be overestimated without considering satisfaction with non-travel-related life domains. Hence, this paper examines the interaction between satisfaction with commuting time, satisfaction with other life domains and overall life satisfaction. An ordered logistic regression has been estimated using a large dataset comprising data from 32 European countries. Results indicate that satisfaction with specific life domains and overall life satisfaction have a significant association with commuting time satisfaction (CTS), while controlling for employment characteristics, and personality (i.e., trust). Of all life domains, job and time-use satisfaction have the strongest associations with CTS. Given the large dataset, we controlled for the contextual differences between the European countries by making a distinction between well-and less-developed countries. The result seems to suggest that all life domains and employment characteristics better explain CTS in well-developed countries than less-developed countries. This paper thus contributes to reporting other innovative ways to obtain high levels of commuting time satisfaction rather than only looking at the interactions with transport mode, travel distance and travel time.
... Both undergraduate-and graduate-level students reported that space for allowing quiet study is more important than group study and work (Association of Research Libraries, 2019; Ramsden, 2011). Open-plan spaces have been considered inappropriate for work requiring concentration because of distractions and noises (Haapakangas et al., 2018;Yoo-Lee et al., 2013). Crowding is also frequently regarded as a problem in academic libraries that creates noise and distractions (Cha & Kim, 2020;DeClercq & Cranz, 2014). ...
Article
A library in higher education plays a primary role in students' learning on campus. In addition to individually-focused studying, students come to a library for various purposes, such as group learning, collaborating, and socializing. To support students' different types of learning, appropriate physical and functional environments of the spaces must be provided. However, the environmental effects of learning spaces have not been explored extensively. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced students to remain and study at home for extended periods, and it is expected that the pandemic experience has affected students' space use patterns. This study aims to examine the effect of the pandemic on students' library usage and to investigate the necessary environments to effectively support students' learning activities. Data was collected via interviews with 12 students. One of the main findings is that, even though students used the library less during the pandemic, they expected to use it as much as pre-pandemic or even more after the pandemic. Furthermore, both physical and functional environments were associated with the study performance and wellbeing of the students. Therefore, understanding students' learning activities and preferred environments in a library is critical to providing appropriate spaces supporting students' learning performance and wellbeing.
... A-FOs also provide different work environments to suit distinct types of work activities, with hot desks serving to encourage workers to switch between work environments as the need arises. When these aspects of flexibility were supported by the organization and taken advantage of by workers, they improved the impact of A-FOs on worker outcomes relative to more-closed alternatives [41,53,54]. ...
Article
BACKGROUND: Several recent reports conclude that open-plan offices negatively impact workers across a variety of outcome measures. This contrasts to a corporate trend to move from cellular to open-plan layouts, often justified by the same outcomes. Two explanations for this paradox are proposed: (1) the results are more complicated than critical reports suggest, and (2) methodological biases make open-plan layouts look more negative than they are. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the proposed explanations using a systematic literature review. METHODS: Google Scholar was used to find original research on the relationship between office openness and worker outcomes. 89 articles were coded for the variables and methods they used, and conclusions about the relationship between layout and outcomes were evaluated. RESULTS: The proposed explanations were partly supported. The relationship between layout openness and worker outcomes depends on the variables considered and the methods used, and a small subset of methods was used far more often than others. That said, more research is needed to evaluate impact of open-plan offices on worker outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: The relationship between office openness and worker outcomes varies widely depending on how it is measured. Several promising areas for future research may help clarify this relationship. Keywords: workplace performance, office type, shared office space, job satisfaction
... The latter result could be due to the fact that the design satisfaction of "preoccupied" employees does not lie on the perceived adequacy of the environment (i.e., positive thoughts of the place), but rather on the perceived (in)adequacy of self (negative thoughts of self), since preoccupied workplace attachment is characterized by a positive thought of Place and a negative thought of Self (Scrima et al., 2017). More generally, the connection between workplace satisfaction and exhaustion confirms the evidence about the positive role that design satisfaction plays in predicting employees' health (Haapakangas, Hongisto, Varjo, & Lahtinen, 2018;Herbig, Schneider, & Nowak, 2016;Lee, Wargocki, Chan, Chen, & Tham, 2020). ...
Article
The role played by place attachment in the prediction of positive or negative outcomes for people wellbeing has been analyzed in various environments, nevertheless the work environment is still understudied. The aim of this research was to test the relationship between the three workplace attachment styles (i.e., secure, avoidant, and preoccupied) and employees' exhaustion, considering also satisfaction toward the workplace design as a possible mediator and privacy as a possible moderator. Data were collected through a self-report questionnaire filled in by 270 employees in different offices. Results show that preoccupied and avoidant workplace attachment are associated with high exhaustion, whereas secure workplace attachment is connected to low exhaustion. Such relationships are mediated by workplace design satisfaction in opposite sense for secure and avoidant (but not for preoccupied) workplace attachment. Finally, the amplification effect of privacy was found only in the relationship between secure workplace attachment and exhaustion. Overall, these findings prove the importance of considering both workplace attachment patterns and design features (including privacy issues) for promoting a better work experience in office employees.
... The perception of building occupants also includes other psychological and behavioral factors particular to the world of work. On this matter, Haapakangas et al. [17] indicate that an objective measurement of worker performance is often not feasible in office work and researchers must rely on self-assessments as a useful and holistic mechanism for understanding the occupant and their productivity. Nevertheless, it is difficult to distinguish which variables are most significant and interrelated with the built environment and truly matter. ...
Article
The evaluation of productivity in office buildings is particularly complex; studies indicate that occupants’ perceptions reflect thermal conditions and are therefore an important element to consider. This research reveals the interrelationships and relative influences of the thermal environmental factors of offices on the perceived productivity of workers. Through fieldwork conducted in winter and summer in 18 Chilean office buildings, information was collected from 940 occupants on 32 variables related to the thermal environment and self-perceived productivity. A total of 3551 responses were used together with environmental and physical data on the indoor built space to formulate a model that recognizes the effect of the thermal environment on productivity. In this model, the constructs of individual thermal sensation, thermal preference, and thermal acceptability are mediating variables that originate in different office parameters and influence perceived productivity. Subsequently, the model was validated and specified following the SEM methodology, thereby resulting in a reduced model of 10 significant variables. An analysis of the interrelationships established the importance of these variables associated with the design of built space and the management of comfort strategies considering work productivity.
... A low noise level is a basic requirement for a comfortable environment and high work productivity [22][23][24]. Some studies [25,26] have already demonstrated the negative relationship between perceived noise level and indoor environment satisfaction through questionnaire surveys. ...
Article
Few studies have investigated whether employees have different acoustic demands for various types of open-plan offices (OPOs), which can be subdivided into small, medium-sized and large OPOs depending on the number of employees sharing an office. In this study, an investigation of acoustic environment is carried out in 16 OPOs, aiming to 1) study how the design parameters of OPOs affect indoor acoustic environments, and 2) explore whether occupants' demands of acoustic environments are different between large open-plan offices (LOPOs) and medium-sized open-plan offices (MOPOs). Both objective measurement and subjective evaluation results that relate to the key aspects of the acoustic environment (noise level and speech privacy) are collected from 7 LOPOs and 9 MOPOs in China. The analysed results found that OPOs with the lower spatial density of workstations or higher storey height have the higher spatial decay rate of speech (D 2;S), lower speech level at 4 m distance (L p;A;S;4m) and shorter comfort distance (r C). The perceived noise level has the greatest influence on employees' acoustic satisfaction, and speech interference on employees' re-concentration is the main acoustic reason leading to work productivity decrease. In terms of the differences in acoustic environment between LOPOs and MOPOs, MOPO employees have higher acoustic satisfaction and lower disturbance levels of speech noises. Perceived speech privacy is a significant acoustic factor affecting work productivity in LOPOs, while it is not in MOPOs.
... Research focusing on the effects of implementing ABWs is growing, although the findings surrounding them are still ambiguous. Most studies have been on the effects of ABWs on individuals' perceived satisfaction with, for example, performance [3,[7][8][9][10][11][12], communication [12,13], and collaboration [13,14]. Satisfaction with spatial factors, such as office layout [8,10,13,15], desk sharing, and privacy [5,12,13,16] has also been studied. ...
Article
Full-text available
Activity-based workplaces (ABW) have been implemented in many organizations to offer office flexibility and decrease facility costs. Evaluations of the ABW implementation process are rare. The study aimed to examine the ABW relocation process of two offices in a Swedish governmental agency and to explore factors that influence the implementation process and satisfaction with it. Qualitative or quantitative data were collected on process variables (context, recruitment, reach, dose delivered, dose received, satisfaction), barriers and facilitators to the process were explored in focus group interviews, and immediate outcomes (perceived knowledge, understanding office rules, satisfying information and support) were measured by questionnaire before and after the relocation. The evaluation showed that recruitment was unsatisfactory and reach insufficient—and participation in activities was thus low for both offices. However, intended changes improved. Unclear aims of ABW, lack of manager support and, lack of communication were some of the reported barriers to participation, while a well-planned process, work groups, and program activities were facilitators. Thus, to increase satisfaction with the relocation, our results suggest that recruitment should be thoroughly planned, taking these factors into account to increase participation. This knowledge may be useful for planning and designing successful ABW relocations and evaluations.
... Thus conferring opportunities for personal environmental control is an end in itself, as well as increasing satisfaction with environmental conditions. Evidence for the value of control is only just emerging for acoustic comfort, as reported by Harvie-Clark and Hinton [23], and Haapakangas et al. [24]. Lee and Aletta [25] have taken a more holistic approach to understanding acoustic comfort and conclude that the most important factors for acoustic comfort are acoustic space planning and occupant control. ...
Article
Full-text available
Today, the concept of open plan is more and more widely accepted that many companies have switched to open-plan offices. Their design is an issue in the scope of space layout planning. Although there are many professional architectural layout design software in the market, in the real-life, office designers seldom use these tools because their license fees are usually expensive and using them to solve an open-plan office design like using an overly powerful and expensive tool to fix a minor problem. Therefore, manual drafting through a trial and error process is most often used. This paper attempts to propose a lightweight tool to automate open-plan office layout generation using a nested genetic algorithm (GA) optimization with two layers, where the inner layer algorithm is embedded in the outer one. The result is enhanced by a local search. The main objective is to maximize space utilization by maximizing the size of the open workspace. This approach is different from its precedents in that the location search is conducted on a grid map rather than several pre-selected candidate locations. Consequently, the generated layout design presents a less rigid workstation arrangement, inviting a casual and unrestrictive work environment. The real potential of the approach is reflected in the productivity of test fits. Automating and simplifying the generation of layouts for test fits can tremendously decrease the amount of time and resources required to generate them. The experimental case study shows that the developed approach is powerful and effective, making a totally automated process.
Article
Office workers spend much of their working day sitting or standing still, which can have dramatic impacts on their health. The physical environment has long been regarded as influencing people's behaviour, including how much and how often they move. Developing a deeper understanding of relationships between specific spatial and environmental attributes and office workers' movement behaviour may inform the development of effective interventions to help people to move more whilst at work. In this study, the daily movement behaviour of 22 office workers was analysed using high resolution location data collected over 4 weeks and compared to their individual exposure to objectively measured spatial and IEQ attributes of their workplace. The results showed that increased visibility of colleagues had significant negative associations with several measures of daily movement behaviour, including the total area utilised each day (ß = −0.73, 95% CI: 1.29, −0.14, p < 0.05). The distance to office destinations such as kitchens and meeting rooms was found to be positively associated with the median duration of moving bouts (ß = 0.29, 95% CI: 0.11, 0.50, p < 0.01). Associations with IEQ exposures were primarily related to stationary behaviours, such as those between operative temperature and maximum stationary bout duration (ß = 149.15, 95% CI: 43.8, 260.0, p < 0.01). Although in most cases, the material impacts of the associations were small, the results suggest several promising avenues to pursue in the development of new design and policy-based interventions to help reduce stationary time and increase movement in the workplace.
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The workplace environment can be represented by physical, psychosocial, and technological environment scales. Whilst there are established measurement scales for the physical and social environments in existing literature, there has been a lack of development regarding the appropriate operationalisation and measurement of the technological environment. Given this, the present study develops parsimonious measures for the technological work environment by employing a mixed method approach. This includes generating domains and items from a qualitative content analysis through focus group interviews, establishing the face and content validity of the instrument through consulting experts in the area, evaluating the construct validity by performing exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis on data collected from information technology professionals. The study further calculated floor and ceiling effects and test-retest reliability. This study suggests that the technological work environment be measured in three main dimensions, which include connectivity and network and availability of appropriate cutting-edge devices and software applications. The instrument developed can be used by other researchers in conducting future empirical studies in this area. Industry practitioners can also use the instrument in analyzing how well they have satisfied the employees in providing a technologically conducive workplace environment.
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Purpose This paper aims to explore the added value of healthy workplaces for employees and organizations, in particular regarding employee satisfaction, labour productivity and facility cost. Design/methodology/approach The paper is based on a narrative review of journal papers and other sources covering the fields of building research, corporate real estate management, facilities management, environmental psychology and ergonomics. Findings The review supports the assumption of positive impacts of appropriate building characteristics on health, satisfaction and productivity. Correlations between these impacts are still underexposed. Data on cost and economic benefits of healthy workplace characteristics is limited, and mainly regard reduced sickness absence. The discussed papers indicate that investing in healthy work environments is cost-effective. Originality/value The findings contribute to a better understanding of the complex relationships between physical characteristics of the environment and health, satisfaction, productivity and costs. These insights can be used to assess work environments on these topics, and to identify appropriate interventions in value-adding management of buildings and facilities.
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Purpose It is widely recognized that interior office space can affect health in several ways. Strategic and evidence-based design, including explicit design objectives, well-chosen design solutions and evaluation of results, aid realization of desired health effects. Therefore, this paper aims to identify possibly effective interior design strategies and accompanying design solutions and to provide examples of effectiveness measures. Design/methodology/approach A literature sample of 59 peer-reviewed papers published across disciplines was used to collect examples of workplace design features that have positively influenced workers’ well-being. The papers were grouped by their health objective and design scope successively and their theoretical assumptions, measures and findings were analyzed. Findings Four main workplace design strategies were identified. Design for comfort aims at reducing or preventing health complaints, discomfort and stress, following a pathogenic approach. It has the longest tradition and is the most frequently addressed in the included papers. The other three take a salutogenic approach, promoting health by increasing resources for coping with demands through positive design. Design for restoration supports physical and mental recovery through connections with nature. Design for social well-being facilitates social cohesion and feelings of belonging. Design for healthy behavior aims at nudging physical activity in the workplace. Originality/value By drawing complementary perspectives and offering examples of design solutions and effectiveness measures, this paper encourages workplace designers, managers and researchers to take a transdisciplinary and evidence-based approach to healthy workplaces. It also serves as a starting point for future empirical research.
Article
Today, the concept of open plan is more and more widely accepted that many companies have switched to open-plan offices. Their design is an issue in the scope of space layout planning. Although there are many professional architectural layout design software in the market, in the real life, office designers seldom use these tools because their license fees are usually expensive and using them to solve an open-plan office design is like using an overly powerful and expensive tool to fix a minor problem. Therefore, manual drafting through a trial and error process is most often used. This article attempts to propose a lightweight tool to automate open-plan office layout generation using a nested genetic algorithm optimization with two layers, where the inner layer algorithm is embedded in the outer one. The result is enhanced by a local search. The main objective is to maximize space utilization by maximizing the size of the open workspace. This approach is different from its precedents, in that the location search is conducted on a grid map rather than several pre-selected candidate locations. Consequently, the generated layout design presents a less rigid workstation arrangement, inviting a casual and unrestrictive work environment. The real potential of the approach is reflected in the productivity of test fits. Automating and simplifying the generation of layouts for test fits can tremendously decrease the amount of time and resources required to generate them. The experimental case study shows that the developed approach is powerful and effective, making it a totally automated process.
Chapter
One of the headphone’s basic requirements is to maintain a stable fit on the head and ears. The current study aimed to quantify head movement when wearing a headphone, and the results of this study illustrate an essential requirement for the durable design of headphones [1]. The study consisted of two phases: Phase 1 – The distribution of questionnaires to headphone users (n = 427). Of the 427 users who completed the questionnaires, 30 users volunteered to participate in phase 2 of the study – Observation and analysis involving head movements monitoring and video recording. Thirty healthy participants conducted their typical work activities in the office while the IMU recorded their head movement data. The research resulted in a basic requirement for stability of the headphone designs that inclined into the various positions of fit that the typical users wanted out from them with the least challenges.
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Previous studies indicated a potential influence of physical workplace characteristics (e.g. light, noise, air quality) on employees' mental health (e.g. stress, fatigue, or mood). Until recently, most workplace-context research had a pathogenic instead of a salutogenic orientation. In this systematic scoping review (PRISMA) ten indicators of mental health are taken as a starting point, including both mental well-being and -illness. This provides a more holistic exploration of methods, measures, and employee-workplace theories that explain how physical workplace resources promote employees’ mental health. The directions of these relationships are also observed. Results show that some workplace characteristics are studied with many validated measures, while others appear less diverse or so far lack approaches with objective measures. Results show that some indicators of mental health (e.g. concentration, and stress) have frequently been related to indoor environmental quality (IEQ) (e.g. light and daylight), while others (e.g. burnout, engagement, and depression) have received less attention in relation to the physical workplace (especially to biophilia, views, look and feel). This review identifies important avenues for future research, potential objective and subjective measures for employee mental health in relation to the office workplace and calls for a more holistic approach to mental health at work.
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The increasing popularity of activity-based work environments has led to concerns regarding lower employee privacy and psychological ownership. Using a longitudinal field survey, we attempt to capture how implementing an activity-based work environment impacts perceived privacy and psychological ownership—and potential employee adjustment over time. We further consider employee attitude towards activity-based work as a moderator. Consistent with past results, our findings indicate that implementing activity-based work environments can negatively affect employee privacy and psychological ownership. We do not find support for differences between short-term and long-term effects. However, employee attitude towards activity-based work emerges as a potentially important moderator that may offset the adverse effects of activity-based work environments. Implications of these findings for organizations and directions for future research are discussed.
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Distraction from the background environment while performing concentrationdemanding tasks is a common issue for office employees in shared work areas. However, few field studies have been conducted on the effects of different office types and work areas on objective measurements of cognitive performance. The first aim of the present field study was to investigate, before relocation to an activity-based workplace (ABW), differences in performance on a concentration-demanding cognitive task between individuals in shared/open-plan offices compared to cell offices. The second aim was to investigate, after relocation, how performance differs (withinperson) between different work areas within the ABW. This study included employees from five offices (n = 113), of which four relocated into an ABW. An acoustician measured the equivalent sound levels of the work areas. Data were analyzed using linear regression (aim 1) and mixed models (aim 2). Before relocation, employees working in shared/open-plan offices performed significantly worse (14%) than those in cell-offices, which had a 15 LAeq lower noise level. After relocation, employees performed significantly worse in the active zone without noise restrictions, compared to all other work areas. When shifting open-plan area from the active zone to the quiet zone cognitive performance increased significantly by 16.9%, and switching to individual working rooms increased performance by 21.9%. The results clearly demonstrate the importance for organizations to provide quiet areas or rooms with few distractions for employees working on tasks that demand concentration in an ABW. A daily drop in performance for each employee may be expensive for the organization in the long run.
Thesis
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Architectural design greatly influences building energy performance (BEP), and energy-efficient design is therefore often studied. Architectural space layout also can affect BEP. However, only a few of the numerous studies on energy-efficient design considered the effect of space layout. Within these studies, the isolated effect of space layout on the BEP has hardly have been analysed systematically. The framework of Performative Computational Architecture (PCA) had been proven to be effective to improve BEP. PCA includes form generation, performance evaluation, and computational optimisation. With this framework, the building’s geometry and material properties are parametrised, and the performance is assessed for different combinations of design parameters. It aims to find the proper parameters that satisfy the defined objectives. This method can include the generation and assessment of space layouts. However, only a few studies have tried to combine the automatic generation of space layout with energy performance optimisation; nor the systematic analysis of the effects and relations between space layout and energy performance.
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A high percentage of information-based work is now conducted in open-plan offices as opposed to traditional cellular offices. In this systematic review, we compare health, work, and social outcomes as well as employee outcomes for workers in the two environments. From a total of 10,242 papers reviewed, we identified 31 papers which met strict inclusion/exclusion criteria of allowing a direct comparison between the office types. The results showed that working in open-plan workplace designs is associated with more negative outcomes on many measures relating to health, satisfaction, productivity, and social relationship. Notable health outcomes included decreased overall health and increased stress. Environmental characteristics of particular concern included noise and distractions, poor privacy, lighting and glare, and poorer temperature control. Most studies indicated negative effects on social relationships and interactions. Overall, the findings showed that while open-plan workplace designs may offer financial benefits for management, these appear to be offset by the intangible costs associated with the negative effects on workers. The study encourages further focused investigations into design factors as well as employee characteristics that might contribute to better outcomes in open-plan designs.
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Purpose This paper aims to explore the meaning of smart office environments from a user perspective by investigating user preferences and expectations. Design/methodology/approach Eleven semi-structured interviews with the users after moving into a smart office building of a Dutch Municipality and an observation as complementary data were conducted. The data were analysed based on the grounded theory and thematic analysis, combining a reflexive approach to the literature review. Findings Two main themes were revealed addressing user expectations and preferences for smart office environments: “enhanced interaction” with the social and physical office environment and “sense-making” of the smart concept (or smartness). Within these themes, basic and smart office aspects were identified and classified based on their association with smart office concepts or technology. Practical implications The findings reveal the meaning of the smart office concepts from a user perspective by highlighting the importance of user experience on enhanced interaction and sense-making of the smart office concept, equipped with basic and smart aspects. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to qualitatively examine drivers underlying the meaning of smart office concepts from a user point of view. Organisations, environmental psychologists, designers and managers can use the findings of this study to develop guidelines for a successful smart office design.
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Purpose The purpose of this study is to explore which factors may explain the high or low percentages of satisfied employees in offices with shared activity-based workplaces. Design/methodology/approach The paper compares data on employee satisfaction from two cases with remarkably high satisfaction scores and two cases with significantly lower satisfaction scores (total N = 930), all of the same organisation. These cases were selected from a database with employee responses to a standardised questionnaire in 52 flexible work environments. In the four case studies, also group interviews were conducted. Findings Overall, there are large differences in employee satisfaction between cases with, at first sight, a similar activity-based office concept. The main differences between the best and worst cases regard employee satisfaction with the interior design, level of openness, subdivision of space, number and diversity of work places and accessibility of the building. Employee satisfaction shows to be influenced by many physical characteristics of the work environment and by the implementation process. Satisfaction with the organisation may have an impact as well. Research limitations/implications Almost all cases regard Dutch organisations. Due to the lack of quantitative scales to define the physical characteristics of the work environment, the study is mainly descriptive and explorative and does not include advanced multivariate statistical analyses. Practical implications The data revealed clear critical success factors including a supportive spatial layout to facilitate communication and concentration, attractive architectural design, ergonomic furniture, appropriate storage facilities and coping with psychological and physical needs, such as privacy, thermal comfort, daylight and view. Critical process factors are the commitment of managers, a balance between a top-down and a bottom-up approach and clear instructions on how to use activity-based workplaces. Originality/value The study connects descriptive research with inductive reasoning to explore why employees may be satisfied or dissatisfied with flex offices. It is based on a combination of quantitative survey data from 52 cases and a closer look at two best cases and two worst cases based on qualitative data from interviews and personal observations. The study has high practical value due to the integral approach that incorporates many items of the physical environment and context factors like the implementation process.
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Noise has repeatedly been shown to be one of the most recurrent reasons for complaints in open-plan office environments. The aim of the present study was to investigate if enhanced or worsened sound absorption in open-plan offices is reflected in the employees' ratings of disturbances, cognitive stress, and professional efficacy. Employees working on two different floors of an office building were followed as three manipulations were made in room acoustics on each of the two floors by means of less or more absorbing tiles & wall absorbents. For one of the floors, the manipulations were from better to worse to better acoustical conditions, while for the other the manipulations were worse to better to worse. The acoustical effects of these manipulations were assessed according to the new ISO-standard (ISO-3382-3, 2012) for open-plan rooms acoustics. In addition, the employees responded to questionnaires after each change. Our analyses showed that within each floor enhanced acoustical conditions were associated with lower perceived disturbances and cognitive stress. There were no effects on professional efficiency. The results furthermore suggest that even a small deterioration in acoustical room properties measured according to the new ISO-standard for open-plan office acoustics has a negative impact on self-rated health and disturbances. This study supports previous studies demonstrating the importance of acoustics in work environments and shows that the measures suggested in the new ISO-standard can be used to adequately differentiate between better and worse room acoustics in open plan offices.
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Unlabelled: This study uses a structural equation model to examine the effects of noise on self-rated job satisfaction and health in open-plan offices. A total of 334 employees from six open-plan offices in China and Korea completed a questionnaire survey. The questionnaire included questions assessing noise disturbances and speech privacy, as well as job satisfaction and health. The results indicated that noise disturbance affected self-rated health. Contrary to popular expectation, the relationship between noise disturbance and job satisfaction was not significant. Rather, job satisfaction and satisfaction with the environment were negatively correlated with lack of speech privacy. Speech privacy was found to be affected by noise sensitivity, and longer noise exposure led to decreased job satisfaction. There was also evidence that speech privacy was a stronger predictor of satisfaction with environment and job satisfaction for participants with high noise sensitivity. In addition, fit models for employees from China and Korea showed slight differences. Practitioner summary: This study is motivated by strong evidence that noise is the key source of complaints in open-plan offices. Survey results indicate that self-rated job satisfaction of workers in open-plan offices was negatively affected by lack of speech privacy and duration of disturbing noise.
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In this article, we attempt to distinguish between the properties of moderator and mediator variables at a number of levels. First, we seek to make theorists and researchers aware of the importance of not using the terms moderator and mediator interchangeably by carefully elaborating, both conceptually and strategically, the many ways in which moderators and mediators differ. We then go beyond this largely pedagogical function and delineate the conceptual and strategic implications of making use of such distinctions with regard to a wide range of phenomena, including control and stress, attitudes, and personality traits. We also provide a specific compendium of analytic procedures appropriate for making the most effective use of the moderator and mediator distinction, both separately and in terms of a broader causal system that includes both moderators and mediators. (46 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In the changing modern economy some new factors have been addressed that are of importance for productivity and economic growth, such as human skills, workplace organization, information and communication technologies (ICT) and knowledge sharing. An increasing number of companies and organizations are implementing measures to better address these factors, often referred to as 'the New Ways of Working (NWW)'. This consists of a large variety of measures that enable flexibility in the time and location of work. Expectations of these measures are often high, such as a reduction in operating costs and an increase of productivity. However, scientific proof is still lacking, and it is worth asking whether al these implementations actually cause a change in work behavior and effect business outcomes positively. This article describes a case study of three departments (total of 73 employees) that changed from a traditional way of working towards a new way of working. Questionnaires and a new developed objective measurement system called 'work@ task' were used to measure changes in work behavior (i.e. increased variation in work location, work times and a change towards NWW management style) and the effect on business objectives such as knowledge sharing, employees satisfaction, and collaboration.
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Differences between office types may have an influence on the employees' satisfaction and psychological responses with respect to different aspects of the office environment. For this study, 469 employees rated their perceptions of and satisfaction with the office environments of seven different office types, which were classified as cell-office, shared-room office, small open-plan office, medium open-plan office, large open-plan office, flex-office, and combi-office. Three domains of environmental factors were analyzed: (1) ambient factors, (2) noise and privacy, and (3) design-related factors. Employee responses were evaluated using multivariate logistic and Poisson regression. Adjustments were made for potential confounders such as age, gender job rank, and line of business. Substantial differences between employees in different office types were found The analysis offrequencies in complaints within the three domains shows that noise and privacy is the domain that causes the most dissatisfaction among office employees. Cell-office employees are most satisfied with the physical environment overall, followed by those in flex-office. However, the results for cell-office are not uniformly best, since they score low with regard to the social aspects of design-related factors and, in particular, on support of affinity. The most dissatisfaction is reported in medium and large open-plan offices, where the complaints about noise and lack of privacy are especially negative. Architectural andfunctional features of the offices are discussed as the main explanatory factors for these results.
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It is currently accepted that noise is one of the most important annoyance factors in open-space offices. However, noise levels measured in open spaces of the tertiary sector rarely exceed 65 dB(A). It, therefore, appears necessary to develop a tool that can be used to assess the noise environment of these offices and identify the parameters to be taken into consideration when assessing the noise annoyance. This article presents a questionnaire to be filled by people working in such environment, and a case study in different open plan offices. The majority of the 237 respondents consider that the ambient noise level in their environment is high and that intelligible conversations between their colleagues represent the main source of noise annoyance. This annoyance was significantly correlated with their evaluation of sound intensity, which could not be represented by A-weighted level measurements. Practitioner Summary: This article presents a short questionnaire aimed to evaluate the employees' comfort in an open-plan office and to propose optimal modifications of the office. Answers collected from 237 respondents showed that intelligible conversations represent the main source of noise annoyance; moreover, overall noise level is not related to this annoyance.
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Unlabelled: The effect of office type on sickness absence among office employees was studied prospectively in 1852 employees working in (1) cell-offices; (2) shared-room offices; (3) small, (4) medium-sized and (5) large open-plan offices; (6) flex-offices and (7) combi-offices. Sick leaves were self-reported two years later as number of (a) short and (b) long (medically certified) sick leave spells as well as (c) total number of sick leave days. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used, with adjustment for background factors. A significant excess risk for sickness absence was found only in terms of short sick leave spells in the three open-plan offices. In the gender separate analysis, this remained for women, whereas men had a significantly increased risk in flex-offices. For long sick leave spells, a significantly higher risk was found among women in large open-plan offices and for total number of sick days among men in flex-offices. Practitioner summary: A prospective study of the office environment's effect on employees is motivated by the high rates of sick leaves in the workforce. The results indicate differences between office types, depending on the number of people sharing workspace and the opportunity to exert personal control as influenced by the features that define the office types.
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Open-plan office layout is commonly assumed to facilitate communication and interaction between co-workers, promoting workplace satisfaction and team-work effectiveness. On the other hand, open-plan layouts are widely acknowledged to be more disruptive due to uncontrollable noise and loss of privacy. Based on the occupant survey database from Center for the Built Environment (CBE), empirical analyses indicated that occupants assessed Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) issues in different ways depending on the spatial configuration (classified by the degree of enclosure) of their workspace. Enclosed private offices clearly outperformed open-plan layouts in most aspects of IEQ, particularly in acoustics, privacy and the proxemics issues. Benefits of enhanced ‘ease of interaction’ were smaller than the penalties of increased noise level and decreased privacy resulting from open-plan office configuration.
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This article investigates the hypothesis that office type has an influence on workers' health status and job satisfaction and 469 employees in seven different types, defined by their unique setup of architectural and functional features, have rated their health status and job satisfaction. Multivariate regression models were used for analysis of these outcomes, with adjustment for age, gender, job rank, and line of business. Both health status and job satisfaction differed between the seven office types. Lowest health status was found in medium-sized and small open plan offices. Best health was among employees in cell offices and flex offices. Workers in these types of offices and in shared room offices also rated the highest job satisfaction. Lowest job satisfaction was in combi offices, followed by medium-sized open plan offices. The differences between employees could possibly be ascribed to variations in architectural and functional features of the office types.
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Purpose – Generic use of the term “knowledge worker” has resulted in a generic approach to designing office environments for this group. The purpose of this paper is to probe the mobility patterns and motivations of knowledge workers in order to provide a classification of different types of knowledge worker. Design/methodology/approach – The study was undertaken using a range of qualitative research methods including semi-structured interviews with 20 knowledge workers representing different levels of mobility and experience, ethnographic studies in a media company, real estate business and a public relations firm, and a user workshop. A novel drawing exercise was introduced to elicit responses during the interview process. Findings – Four knowledge worker “character types” emerged from the research: the Anchor and the Connector, who are mainly office-based, and the Gatherer and the Navigator, who work more widely afield. Research limitations/implications – This is a small study revealing characteristics particular to the participating individuals and organisations. However, it has wider implications in that the more complex set of requirements revealed by the project requires a more responsive and service-led approach to office design for knowledge workers and the development of new protocols of use within office space. Originality/value – The originality/value lies in giving designers and facilities managers an insight into the different needs of knowledge workers, who are commonly treated as a homogeneous group. The typologies are an active tool for better brief-making in design for creative facilities.
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Purpose – The activity‐based office concept of the modern office is set to increase productivity through the stimulation of interaction and communication while retaining employee satisfaction and reducing the accommodation costs. Although some research has gone into understanding the added value, there is still a need for sound data on the relationship between office design, its intentions and the actual use after implementation. The purpose of this paper is to address this issue. Design/methodology/approach – An evaluative study on the effectiveness of activity‐based office concepts was carried out to gain more insight in their use. The study included relevant literature on workplace design, combined with an observation and a survey of 182 end‐users from four different service organizations in The Netherlands. Findings – The findings from these case studies underline some known benefits and disadvantages of activity‐based office concepts, and provide insight in the importance of several physical, social and mental aspects of the office environment in employee choice behavior. This study shows that the office concept is not always used as intended what could result in a loss in productivity, illness and dissatisfaction. People's personal preferences seem to have a bigger effect on the use of certain types of workplaces than some workstation facilities, although ergonomics and IT equipment and systems are expected to be satisfactory everywhere. Misusage of the concept is often the consequence of critical design (process) failures. Originality/value – The originality of this research lies in the combination of studying the program of requirements, a questionnaire and most of all the observation in a quiet period, providing new information on choice behavior.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of two different academic office environments in supporting collaboration and privacy. Design/methodology/approach – The approach takes the form of case studies involving post-occupancy questionnaire surveys of academic occupants. Findings – The combi-office design was found to be associated with higher levels of occupant satisfaction than the open-plan office design, with respect to support for collaboration and privacy. Research limitations/implications – The findings highlight the importance of understanding user requirements and the role of office space as a cognitive resource. Practical implications – Designers should consider the default location of occupants when designing academic and other creative workspaces. Social implications – Academic creativity and innovation are seen to be important for society. However, there needs to be a better understanding of how to support this through workspace design. Originality/value – This study contributes to the small but growing body of research on academic office design and creative workspaces in general.
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Studies of stress in the work environment pay little attention to features of the physical environment in which work is performed. Yet evidence is accumulating that the physical environment of work affects both job performance and job satisfaction. Contemporary research on stress in the work environment typically focuses on psychosocial factors that affect job performance, strain and employee health, and does not address the growing body of work on the environmental psychology of workspace. This paper reviews theory and research bearing on stress in the workplace and explores how current theory might be applied to the relationship between worker behaviour and physical features of the work environment. The paper proposes a theoretical model of the worker–workspace relationship in which stress and comfort play a critical part, and suggests a methodological approach on which to base future empirical studies. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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This study examined the independent and joint influences of stimulus screening, inhibitory ability, perceived privacy and task complexity on the satisfaction and performance of employees working in open-plan offices. One hundred and nine participants from two organizations completed questionnaires and inhibitory ability measures. Performance was assessed through manager ratings. Results partially confirmed hypotheses that satisfaction and performance would be reduced for employees with poor stimulus screening or poor inhibitory ability, low perceived privacy, or complex tasks. Expectations that these factors would interact to produce employees’ negative reactions were also partially confirmed. Importantly, results verify stimulus screening as a significant determinant of employees’ reactions to the open-plan workplace. Implications for understanding employees’ attitudinal and behavioral responses to the workplace, limitations of the study, and implications for future research are discussed.
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On the basis of A. P. Fiske's (1992) general theory of social relations, a model of interpersonal conflict at work was developed and tested in a sample of young workers. The model predicts that conflict with supervisors is predictive of organizationally relevant psychological outcomes (job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover intentions), whereas conflict with coworkers is predictive of personally relevant psychological outcomes (depression, self-esteem, and somatic symptoms). Data were obtained from a sample of 319 individuals ages 16 to 19 years. Structural equation modeling results supported the hypothesized relations. Secondary regression analysis of 2 data sets from M. A. Donovan, F. Drasgow, and L. J. Munson (1998) provides initial support for the generalizability of the hypothesized model to older employees.
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The job demands-resources (JD-R) model proposes that working conditions can be categorized into 2 broad categories, job demands and job resources. that are differentially related to specific outcomes. A series of LISREL analyses using self-reports as well as observer ratings of the working conditions provided strong evidence for the JD-R model: Job demands are primarily related to the exhaustion component of burnout, whereas (lack of) job resources are primarily related to disengagement. Highly similar patterns were observed in each of 3 occupational groups: human services, industry, and transport (total N = 374). In addition, results confirmed the 2-factor structure (exhaustion and disengagement) of a new burnout instrument--the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory--and suggested that this structure is essentially invariant across occupational groups.
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Previous research suggests that, in open-plan offices, noise complaints may be related to the high intelligibility of speech. Distraction distance, which is based on the Speech Transmission Index, can be used to objectively describe the acoustic quality of open-plan offices. However, the relation between distraction distance and perceived noise disturbance has not been established in field studies. The aim of this study was to synthesize evidence from separate studies covering 21 workplaces (N=883 respondents) and a wide range of room acoustic conditions. The data included both questionnaire surveys and room acoustic measurements (ISO 3382-3). Distraction distance, the spatial decay rate of speech, speech level at 4 meters from the speaker and the average background noise level were examined as possible predictors of perceived noise disturbance. The data were analyzed with individual participant data meta-analysis. The results show that distracting background speech largely explains the overall perception of noise. An increase in distraction distance predicts an increase in disturbance by noise whereas the other quantities may not alone be associated with noise disturbance. The results support the role of room acoustic design, i.e., the simultaneous use of absorption, blocking and masking, in the attainment of good working conditions in open-plan offices.
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Researchers interested in testing mediation often use designs where participants are measured on a dependent variable Y and a mediator M in both of 2 different circumstances. The dominant approach to assessing mediation in such a design, proposed by Judd, Kenny, and McClelland (2001), relies on a series of hypothesis tests about components of the mediation model and is not based on an estimate of or formal inference about the indirect effect. In this article we recast Judd et al.'s approach in the path-analytic framework that is now commonly used in between-participant mediation analysis. By so doing, it is apparent how to estimate the indirect effect of a within-participant manipulation on some outcome through a mediator as the product of paths of influence. This path-analytic approach eliminates the need for discrete hypothesis tests about components of the model to support a claim of mediation, as Judd et al.'s method requires, because it relies only on an inference about the product of paths-the indirect effect. We generalize methods of inference for the indirect effect widely used in between-participant designs to this within-participant version of mediation analysis, including bootstrap confidence intervals and Monte Carlo confidence intervals. Using this path-analytic approach, we extend the method to models with multiple mediators operating in parallel and serially and discuss the comparison of indirect effects in these more complex models. We offer macros and code for SPSS, SAS, and Mplus that conduct these analyses. (PsycINFO Database Record
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The purpose of this study was to provide evidence that there is a relationship between the quality of the physical environment and employee satisfaction.A quasi-field experiment was conducted in an open-plan office of 135 employees. The office was refurbished in various ways to achieve e.g. better thermal conditions, visual and acoustic privacy, ergonomics, interior design, and lower spatial density. All employees were sent a questionnaire twice: before and after the refurbishment. The physical measurements were also conducted twice. Significant improvements were found in nearly all inquired aspects of environmental satisfaction. They could be logically traced to the physical changes provided by the refurbishment. The improvements could also be supported by the physical measurements. Both environmental and job satisfaction were improved. Qualified change management, involvement of employees and carefully designed refurbishment agenda were together believed to be the main reasons for the improvement of job satisfaction.
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The study examined the effects of office space occupation, psychosocial work characteristics, and environmental satisfaction on physical and mental health of office workers in small-sized and open-plan offices as well as possible underlying mechanisms. Office space occupation was characterized as number of persons per one enclosed office space. 207 office employees with similar jobs in offices with different space occupation were surveyed regarding their work situation (psychosocial work characteristics, satisfaction with privacy, acoustics, and control) and health (psychosomatic complaints, irritation, mental well-being, and work ability). Binary logistic and linear regression analyses as well as bootstrapped mediation analyses were used to determine associations and underlying mechanisms. Employee health was significantly associated with all work characteristics. Psychosocial work stressors had the strongest relation to physical and mental health (OR range: 1.66 to 3.72). The effect of office space occupation on employee health was mediated by stressors and environmental satisfaction, but not by psychosocial work resources. As assumed by sociotechnical approaches, a higher number of persons per enclosed office space was associated with adverse health effects. However, the strongest associations were found with psychosocial work stressors. When revising office design, a holistic approach to work (re)design is needed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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