23456785 of 17
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Activity-based Flexible Office work environments: Design and implementation processes and outcomes
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems, Ergonomics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2691-3580
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: In recent years, there has been a reported increase in organizations relocating to Activity-based Flexible Offices (A-FOs) worldwide. The idea of A-FOs is to offer work conditions suitable for the workforce’s tasks and individual preferences. Benefits of the A-FO include employee autonomy, privacy and inter- and intra-team communication. However, there are reports within Swedish media on reduced performance, increased dissatisfaction, injustice, and workplace avoidance amongst employees occupying A-FOs. Added to which empirical research supporting A-FOs claimed benefits are scarce with inconsistent results.

Aim: The aim of this thesis is to explore and investigate perceptions of workspace, work conditions, work environment satisfaction, and perceived performance in A-FOs (aim of Studies I-V). Additionally, the sub-aims are to explore and investigate associations with underlying factors such as design and implementation process factors including methods suggestions (aims of Studies II, IV & VI), physical workspace factors (aim of Study III), desk-sharing and speech policies (aim of Study IV), and organizational preconditions (aim of Study V).  This thesis aims at integrating the contributions of each paper and making the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Method: A problem centered, pragmatic approach guided the methodological choices. Two in-depth longitudinal case (n=66 & 46) and two cross-sectional (n=202 & 105) studies were conducted at five single floor A-FOs. A mixed method approach was adopted comprising of six questionnaires, 105 individual interviews, documentation of plan layouts, photographs, planning documents and observations. A third cross-sectional study with 7 additional cases was conducted on 473-715 questionnaire responses.

Results & discussion: The results showed that work environment satisfaction and perceived performance can increase after relocation to A-FOs. Reported contributing design and implementation process factors included meaningful objectives for the employees, allocation of time and financial resources, having an organizational focus, employee empowerment, and a methodological approach. A methods framework divided into A-FO design stages is presented that can facilitate the design process of A-FOs. Reported contributing workspace design factors included ample desk-sharing ratios and workspace diversity. Desk-sharing and speech rules were identified: when to remove belongings, allowance to occupy the same workstation in open-plan and enclosed areas on consecutive days, and allocations of areas where speaking on the phone, and verbal interaction with colleagues and interruptions are allowed or forbidden. Organizational preconditions, such as innovative work tasks and an open-plan office type prior to relocation were associated with preference for the A-FO.

Conclusion: Design and implementation factors, workspace factors, application of rules and organizational preconditions are possible predictors of work conditions, work environment satisfaction, and perceived performance. A-FOs can be perceived as noisy workplaces that create extra work, decrease interaction as well as increase uncertainty on how to act within the office. However, A-FOs can also be preferred above other office types and be perceived with high work environment satisfaction and perceived performance. This thesis has stressed the importance of a holistic sociotechnical perspective during A-FO implementations, and the importance of employee involvement and empowerment, workspace diversity and desk-sharing policies.

Abstract [sv]

Bakgrund: Under senare år har andelen företag som flyttar till aktivitetsbaserade kontor ökat över hela världen för att bättre stödja nya sätt att arbeta. Det aktivitetsbaserade kontoret (ABW) föreslås medge hög arbetsmiljötillfredsställelse och prestation genom att tillhandahålla arbetsförhållanden som passar olika arbetsuppgifter och individuella preferenser. Exempelvis kan autonomi, avskildhet och kommunikation främjas. Dock rapporterar svensk media om medarbetares låga prestation, missnöje och upplevelse av orättvisa i ABWs och att medarbetare undviker sin arbetsplats. 

Syfte: Denna avhandling syftar till att utforska och undersöka arbetsförhållanden, medarbetares tillfredsställelse av arbetsmiljön och prestation i aktivitetsbaserade kontor, samt deras associationer till underliggande faktorer såsom processfaktorer, utformningsfaktorer, regler och organisatoriska förutsättningar. Avhandlingen avser att integrera artikelbidragen och att helheten ska vara större än summan av delarna.

Metod: En problemcentrerad, pragmatisk ansats har väglett de metodologiska valen. Grundliga longitudinella fallstudier och genomsnittsstudier genomfördes hos organisationer med aktivitetsbaserade kontor på ett våningsplan. En mixed method-ansats användes bestående av 6 enkätutskick, 105 intervjuer, dokumentation av planritningar, fotografier och planeringsdokument, samt observationer. En tredje tvärsnittsstudie genomfördes med ytterligare 7 fall med total 473-715 enkätsvar.

Resultat & diskussion: Resultaten visade att arbetsmiljötillfredsställelse och upplevd prestation kan öka efter flytt till ABW. Faktorer inom planeringsprocessen, såsom meningsfulla mål för medarbetarna, tilldelning av tid och finansiella resurser, fokus kring organisatoriska förändringar, medarbetares delaktighet och ett metodiskt tillvägagångssätt föreslogs relatera till goda utfall. För att underlätta i planeringsprocessen presenterades ett ramverk med metoder indelade i kontors olika planeringsfaser. Föreslagna utformningsfaktorer var att medge låg täckningsgrad av arbetsplatser och varierade akustiska arbetsmiljöer. Resultaten pekade på att regler behöver diskuteras och tydligt uttryckas, till exempel om medarbetarna får använda samma arbetsplats i öppna och avskärmade ytor flera dagar i rad och var medarbetarna får prata med varandra i telefon och var man får avbryta varandra för att ställa frågor. Den organisatoriska kontexten, såsom hög frekvens av innovativa arbetsuppgifter, stark kultur och att ha ett öppet kontor innan förändringen föreslogs också relatera till hög arbetsmiljötillfredsställelse i ABWs.

Konklusion: Planeringsfaktorer, utformningsfaktorer, tillämpning av regler och organisatoriska förutsättningar är möjliga prediktorer för arbetsförhållanden, arbetsmiljötillfredsställelse och upplevd prestation. ABWs kan medge oljud, skapa extra arbete, minska interaktion och skapa osäkerhet kring hur man bör agera. Dock kan ABWs föredras framför andra kontorstyper och upplevas medge hög prestation och arbetsmiljötillfredsställelse. Denna avhandling betonar vikten av ett sociotekniskt helhetsperspektiv under planering och implementering av ABWs och vikten av medarbetares involvering och påverkansmöjligheter, mångfald i typer av arbetsmiljöer och tydliga förhållningsregler kring delandet av arbetsplatser.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2018. , p. 98
Series
TRITA-CBH-FOU ; 2018:52
Keywords [en]
Activity-based working, ABW, New ways of working (NWW), hot-desking, clean desk, office policies, workspace, office layout, office design, office planning process, organizational change, conceptual framework for office design, office planning
Keywords [sv]
Aktivitetsbaserade kontor, ABW, Nya sätt att arbeta (NWW), flexibelt arbete, förhållningsregler, kontorsutformning, organisationsförändring, konceptuellt ramverk för kontorsplanering, planeringsprocessen
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Technology and Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-239417ISBN: 978-91-7729-999-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-239417DiVA, id: diva2:1265084
Public defence
2018-12-14, T1, Hälsovägen 11 C, Huddinge, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
AFA Insurance, 130200
Note

QC 20181122

Available from: 2018-11-22 Created: 2018-11-22 Last updated: 2018-11-30Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Perceptions of performance and satisfaction after relocation to an activity-based office
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Perceptions of performance and satisfaction after relocation to an activity-based office
2017 (English)In: Ergonomics, ISSN 0014-0139, E-ISSN 1366-5847Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many companies move from open-plan offices (OPO) to activity-based workplaces (ABWs). However, few studies examine the benefits and drawbacks following such a change. The aim of this study was to explore how physical conditions, office use, communication, privacy, territoriality, satisfaction and perceived performance change following a company’s relocation from an OPO to an ABW. A mixed methods approach included pre- and post-relocation questionnaires and post-relocation focus groups, individual interviews and observations. The questionnaires enabled comparisons over time (n = 34) and broader analyses based on retrospective ratings of perceived change (n = 66). Results showed that satisfaction with auditory privacy, background noise, air quality, outdoor view and aesthetics increased significantly after relocation. Negative outcomes, such as lack of communication within teams, were perceived as being due to the high people-to-workstation ratio and lack of rules. Overall satisfaction with the physical work environment increased in the ABW compared to the OPO. Perceived performance did not change significantly.

Practitioner Summary: Activity-based workplaces (ABWs) are commonly implemented although their effects on performance and well-being are unclear. This case study gives advice to stakeholders involved in office planning. Despite shortcomings with the people-to-workstation ratio and rules, employees showed improved satisfaction with auditory privacy and aesthetics in the ABW compared with the previous open-plan office.

Keywords
Flex office, office planning, privacy, communication, noise
National Category
Occupational Health and Environmental Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-220445 (URN)10.1080/00140139.2017.1398844 (DOI)000427848800003 ()2-s2.0-85034248562 (Scopus ID)
Funder
AFA Insurance, 2014/1180-31
Note

QC 20171221

Available from: 2017-12-20 Created: 2017-12-20 Last updated: 2018-11-22Bibliographically approved
2. Relocation to an activity-based flexible office: Design processes and outcomes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Relocation to an activity-based flexible office: Design processes and outcomes
2018 (English)In: Applied Ergonomics, ISSN 0003-6870, E-ISSN 1872-9126, Vol. 73, p. 141-150Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many organizations relocate to activity-based flexible offices (A-FOs) and the results are mixed. This study aims at identifying factors in the design and implementation process that contribute to perceived performance and environmental satisfaction with A-FOs.

A company with 50 employees was studied using interviews, questionnaires and documentation before and after relocation. The results showed that process factors such as objectives, financial and time resources, employee participation and empowerment, and methodological approach contributed to the outcomes. Perceived performance and employee satisfaction with the physical environment increased significantly after the relocation. Employee empowerment, highlighted by the employees, correlated with the performance and satisfaction parameters.

A conceptual model is proposed relating process factors, internal and external organizational context, and physical office setting to work condition consequences and overall outcomes such as employee performance and satisfaction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018
Keywords
Office planning Activity-based working Work analysis
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Technology and Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-239409 (URN)10.1016/j.apergo.2018.05.017 (DOI)000442711000013 ()30098629 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85049111173 (Scopus ID)
Funder
AFA Insurance, 130200
Note

QC 20181122

Available from: 2018-11-22 Created: 2018-11-22 Last updated: 2018-11-22Bibliographically approved
3. Plan layout, space ratios and interior design in activity-based flexible offices
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Plan layout, space ratios and interior design in activity-based flexible offices
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Activity-based flexible offices (A-FOs) are implemented worldwide and comprise open-plan areas and additional enclosed back-up spaces. A-FOs vary in number of acoustic settings, individual enclosed back-up rooms, workstation arrangement and amount of space per workstation and employee. Comparative studies of A-FOs are scarce and do not specify or describe details about architectural features, perceptions of these features and related working conditions. This study compares four A-FO cases’ workspaces (i.e. plan layouts), acoustic settings, space ratios and interior designs, as well as employee perceptions of these settings and perceived performance and workspace satisfaction. Evaluation of four plan layouts, on-site observations and Kruskal-Wallis pairwise comparisons on 202 questionnaire responses showed that employees in offices with (1) most ample ratios (e.g. 0.9 workstations/employee), (2) variations in acoustic environments (from strictly quiet to interactive areas), (3) lowest number of workstations in a row, and (4) corridors separated from workstations, were significantly more satisfied with the space configuration parameters, acoustics, mental working conditions and privacy, as well as work environment satisfaction and perceived performance. The office environment can explain variations in workspace satisfaction and perceived performance in A-FOs.

Keywords
desk-sharing, interior design, office work environment, spatial configuration
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Technology and Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-239414 (URN)
Funder
AFA Insurance, 130200
Note

QC 20181122

Available from: 2018-11-22 Created: 2018-11-22 Last updated: 2018-11-22Bibliographically approved
4. Policies in Activity-based Flexible Offices: ‘I am sloppy with clean-desking. We don’t really know the rules.’
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Policies in Activity-based Flexible Offices: ‘I am sloppy with clean-desking. We don’t really know the rules.’
2018 (English)In: Ergonomics, ISSN 0014-0139, E-ISSN 1366-5847Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Activity-based Flexible Offices (A-FOs) are offices with unassigned desks that provide a variety of workspaces. This paper presents desk-sharing and speech rules identified in A-FOs in four Swedish organisations, the emergence of and compliance with these rules, and their consequences for work conditions. Data collection involved 105 semi-structured interviews, document analyses, and observations. The identified rules were: (1) to remove belongings, (2) temporal restrictions on using the same workstations, (3) temporal restrictions on using scarce zones, (4) restrictions on verbal interactions, and (5) restrictions on phone conversations. The cases with extensive user involvement in their planning process had explicit unambiguous rules. A better compliance with rules occurred when (i) the employees were well-prepared and had a unified understanding regarding how and why to follow the rules, (ii) the rules were explicitly communicated and were regarded as easy to follow, and (iii) following the rules facilitated work and improved work conditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2018
Keywords
Activity-based Working (ABW), desk-sharing and speech policies, planning process, work conditions, work environment design
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-239408 (URN)10.1080/00140139.2018.1516805 (DOI)
Funder
AFA Insurance, 130200
Note

QC 20181122

Available from: 2018-11-22 Created: 2018-11-22 Last updated: 2018-11-22Bibliographically approved
5. Predictors of Preference for the Activity-based Flexible Office
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Predictors of Preference for the Activity-based Flexible Office
Show others...
2018 (English)In: Human Systems Engineering and Design: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Human Systems Engineering and Design (IHSED2018): Future Trends and Applications, October 25-27, 2018, CHU-Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, France / [ed] Tareq Ahram, Waldemar Karwowski, Redha Taiar, Switzerland, 2018, p. 547-552Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Activity-based Flexible Offices (A-FOs) are implemented with vary- ing degree of success. Employees relocate from cell or open-plan offices, from different organizational backgrounds, varying design and implementation pro- cesses, and have different types of work tasks. This study aims at investigating whether preference for the A-FO correlate with these preconditions. The results from Chi-square tests and Spearman’s non-parametric correlation of post- relocation questionnaires distributed to 11 A-FO sites, showed that a high pref- erence for the A-FO correlated strongest with an A-FO preference prior to relo- cation, being a former open-plan office occupier and with frequent performance of innovation. Low preference for the A-FO correlated with frequent perfor- mance of concentration demanding tasks. Working with tasks with high confi- dentiality did not predict the preference ratings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Switzerland: , 2018
Keywords
ABW, Work activities, planning process
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Technology and Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-239412 (URN)10.1007/978-3-030-02053-8_83 (DOI)978-3-030-02052-1 (ISBN)978-3-030-02053-8 (ISBN)
Conference
1st International Conference on Human Systems Engineering and Design (IHSED 2018): Future Trends and Applications
Funder
AFA Insurance, 130200
Note

QC 20181122

Available from: 2018-11-22 Created: 2018-11-22 Last updated: 2018-11-22Bibliographically approved
6. A proposed methods framework and a pilot intervention for workplace design
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A proposed methods framework and a pilot intervention for workplace design
2019 (English)In: 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association, IEA 2018, Springer, 2019, Vol. 824, p. 356-365Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The workspace design process offers opportunities for significant improvements of work environments at low costs. However, work environment experts and Occupational Health Services (OHS) personnel are not seen as natural partners, inhibiting their chances of getting experience. This paper reports results from a national pilot intervention project comprised of a methods framework and a course. The aim of the intervention was to teach these professionals reliable, cost-effective and feasible methods for conducting workplace design projects. The intervention also aimed to increase employee participation in workplace design processes and thereby achieve better impact in these cases. Methods were taught to 56 work environment experts, also creating incentives for them to practice this knowledge. These experts were given incentives to contact and offer their client organizations services for planning new work environments. In the long term, the competence within the field of workplace design on a national level hopefully will be improved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019
Series
Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, ISSN 2194-5357 ; 824
Keywords
Ergonomists, Office planning, Participatory design
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-234083 (URN)10.1007/978-3-319-96071-5_38 (DOI)2-s2.0-85052337012 (Scopus ID)9783319960708 (ISBN)
Conference
20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association, IEA 2018, Florence, Italy, 26 August 2018 through 30 August 2018
Note

QC 20180905

Available from: 2018-09-05 Created: 2018-09-05 Last updated: 2018-11-22Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

Rolfö Thesis(8925 kB)202 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT02.pdfFile size 8925 kBChecksum SHA-512
b28972af6958e8e0a712286b5f32dbfff471cc565bfa6f59b1eb64df281e1f2d0fa593bf3a568988b0daf3c15521a2ba2432e5162d8d5ba24ae0b275231e8156
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Rolfö, Linda
By organisation
Ergonomics
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 213 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 370 hits
23456785 of 17
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf