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Difference in satisfaction with office environment among employees in different office types
2009 (English)In: Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, ISSN 0738-0895, ISSN 0738-0895, Vol. 26, no 3, 241-257Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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 of frequencies 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 and functional features of the offices are discussed as the main explanatory factors for these results.

Keyword [en]
age class, architectural design, building, differentiation, environmental gradient, frequency dependence, functional change, gender, ideology, job search, noise, office location, open space, perception, physiological response, policy analysis, private sector, workplace
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-24390 (URN)000271241800005 (ISI)2-s2.0-70449113082 (ScopusID)oai:DiVA.org:kth-24390 (OAI)diva2:349425 (DiVA)
Note

QC 20100907

Available from2010-09-07 Created:2010-09-07 Last updated:2014-04-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Office - An Explorative Study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Office - An Explorative Study : Architectural Design's Impact on Health, Job Satisfaction & Well-being
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This doctoral thesis examines the office environment’s influence on employees’ perception oftheir workplaces, their organizations and their job satisfaction, as well as their health and wellbeing.It is based on an empirical study of 491 office employees from twenty-six companies anddivisions in large companies. Seven office types, defined by their architectural and functionalfeatures, are represented in the study group: cell-office, shared-room office, small open planoffice, medium-sized open plan office, large open plan office, flex-office and combi-office. Theresearch has its basis in architecture, although an interdisciplinary approach using organizationaland management theory, environmental psychology, and social and stress medicine has beenemployed. Qualitative (Articles I & V) and quantitative methods(Articles II & IV) were used.The thesis also contains an explorative, review article. Thus it comprises all in all five articles.Article I is an analysis of the importance of architectural quality for employees´ perceptionand experience of the office using Lynch’s method (1960) developed to measure inhabitants’perception of architectural quality in cities. The study shows that in the office the experienceto a high degree is independent of both the scale of the office and office type; instead it isdetermined by the quality of the plan layout combined with the quality of other design features.It also shows Lynch’s method to be useful in foreseeing where the elements that reinforce‘imageability’ will most likely appear in an office environment.Article II investigates employees’ environmental satisfaction focusing on:1) ambient factors; 2) noise and privacy; and 3) design-related factors. The results, based onregression models with age, gender, job rank and line of business as additional covariates,show office type as a factor with a statistically significant impact on satisfaction with the officeenvironment. Employees in cell-offices are prominently most satisfied, followed by those inflex-offices, cell-offices rate low only on social aspects of design-related factors. A major findingis the internal differences between office types where employees share workspace and facilitieswith lowest satisfaction in medium-sized and large open plan offices.Article III is a review article that analyzes the employees’ office experiences in two ways:1) by framing the physical work environment’s influence on employees into the model oforganizational theorist Davis (1994); and 2) by categorizing the office experience into twogroups based on the nature of the experience and problems related to them. The results of theemperical study presented in Article II are the basis for the discussion in this article.Article IV examines employees’ health, well-being and job satisfaction. A multivariateanalysis applied to the study sample and equivalent to that of Article II shows significantly higherrisks for ill health and poor well-being in medium-sized and small open plan offices, comparedespecially with cell-office. In medium-sized open plan and combi-offices the employees evincethe lowest job satisfaction. The best chance for good health status and job satisfaction is in cellofficesand flex-offices.Article V examines the office architecture´s importance for employees’ perception of theirown workplaces and organizations based on the two key components of architecture—theaesthetical and functional dimensions. The results show that overall the employees had positiveexperiences of their office environments. These mainly concerned the aesthetical dimension,whereas the negative comments dealt with the functional dimension. The aesthetical dimensionappears not only to set the agenda for employees’ perception of the workplace and organizationas a whole, but also for the perception of the functional dimensions. The functional dimensionswere only in focus when the workstation and its proximate area were discussed.

Publisher, range
Stockholm: KTH, 2010. xiii, 122 p.
Series
Trita-ARK. Akademisk avhandling, ISSN 1402-7461 ; 10:02
Keyword
employees, office environment, office type, architectural features, functional features, architecture, experience, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, health, job satisfaction, perception
National Category
Architectural Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-24429 (URN)978-91-7415-700-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-09-20, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
<p>QC 20100908</p>Available from2010-09-08 Created:2010-09-08 Last updated:2012-11-16Bibliographically approved

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