Purpose – There is lack of knowledge about how movements and interaction within offices are related to the work activities and the premises. This paper aims to develop such knowledge and to develop analytic methods for differentiating office buildings regarding their usefulness to different kind of office activities and sectors.
Design/methodology/approach – The empirical data were collected from several comparative case studies. The spatial configuration of each office is analysed with Space syntax-methods. The organisation and work activities of each office and the use of the spatial system are surveyed by means of interviews, observations and private logbooks and questionnaires.
Findings – The spatial configuration influences the relation between movements and actual interaction, and, as most interaction occurs at one's workstation, which people will be interacting with whom. The building's spatial influence is largest on intra-group movement. The spatial behaviour – the pattern of occupation and movement of the office workers – is on an average level quite the same for different organisations.
Research limitations/implications – The project is so far concentrated on the main work category in many large organisations, the handling officer, a clerk handling tasks individually more or less routinely. The sample of office concepts, or spatial forms, is also restricted so far.
Practical implications – The findings are of great interest for architects in designing offices in order to be both well functioning for a specific organisation and robust in permitting changes of different kind. For the real estate owners the knowledge will facilitate defining the market and for the users this will strengthen the potential to express the demands.
Originality/value – This research project is focused on spatial configuration and interaction, unlike the most of the studies about the individual workstations.
2005. Vol. 23, no 3/4, 176-186 p.