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  • 1. Babapour, Maral
    et al.
    Rolfö, Linda
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems, Ergonomics.
    Policies in Activity-based Flexible Offices: ‘I am sloppy with clean-desking. We don’t really know the rules.’2018In: Ergonomics, ISSN 0014-0139, E-ISSN 1366-5847Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 2.
    Eklund, Jörgen
    et al.
    KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering, Ergonomics.
    Rolfö, Linda
    KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering, Ergonomics.
    Slutrapport: Projektering och planering av nya arbetsmiljöer2016Report (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 3.
    Rolfö, Linda
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems, Ergonomics.
    Activity-based Flexible Office work environments: Design and implementation processes and outcomes2018Doctoral 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.

  • 4.
    Rolfö, Linda
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems, Ergonomics.
    Relocation to an activity-based flexible office: Design processes and outcomes2018In: Applied Ergonomics, ISSN 0003-6870, E-ISSN 1872-9126, Vol. 73, p. 141-150Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 5.
    Rolfö, Linda
    et al.
    KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering, Ergonomics.
    Babapour Chafi, Maral
    Policies for sharing workspaces in activity-based flex offices2017In: 48th Annual Conference of the Association of Canadian Ergonomists: 12th International Symposium on Human Factors in Organizational Design and Management, Banff, Alberta, Canada, 2017, p. 339-344Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This longitudinal case study addresses activities used in the planning process of a new activity based flex office (A-FO), and addresses results after the relocation. The results show that several activities were used to involve employees in the planning process. Employee satisfaction and perceived performance were rated in more positive terms after the relocation than before. The company’s process can be considered as a good example of planning and design processes.

  • 6.
    Rolfö, Linda
    et al.
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems, Ergonomics.
    Bodin Danielsson, Christina
    KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture.
    Plan layout, space ratios and interior design in activity-based flexible officesManuscript (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.

  • 7.
    Rolfö, Linda
    et al.
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems, Ergonomics.
    Eklund, Jörgen
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems, Ergonomics.
    A proposed methods framework and a pilot intervention for workplace design2019In: 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association, IEA 2018, Springer, 2019, Vol. 824, p. 356-365Conference 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.

  • 8.
    Rolfö, Linda
    et al.
    KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering, Ergonomics.
    Eklund, Jörgen
    KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering, Ergonomics.
    Examining Office Type Preference2015In: Creating Sustainable Work-environments: Proceedings of NES2015 Nordic Ergonomics Society 47th Annual Conference 01 –04 November 2015, Lillehammer, Norway / [ed] Knut Inge Fostervold, Svein Åge Kjøs Johnsen, Leif Rydstedt, Reidulf G. Watten, Lysaker, 2015, p. A1-10-A1-14Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Office types and their environmental features influence performance and job satisfaction. Yet employees’ opinions are seldom considered when choosing office type. This paper suggests a method that investigates employees’ office type preferences and motives behind the preferences. The method proved to be quick and simple and provided a flow of current to preferred office type. A majority preferred the quiet cell office for its privacy while the open office was considered having a noisy and distracting environment and lack of privacy. These factors should be prioritized when planning work environments.  

  • 9.
    Rolfö, Linda
    et al.
    KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering, Ergonomics.
    Eliasson, Kristina
    KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering, Ergonomics.
    Eklund, Jörgen
    KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering, Ergonomics.
    An activity-based flex office: Planning processes and outcomes2017In: 48th Annual Conference of the Association of Canadian Ergonomists: 12th International Symposium on Human Factors in Organizational Design and Management, Banff, Alberta, Canada, 2017, p. 330-338Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This longitudinal case study addresses activities used in the planning process of a new activity based flex office (A-FO), and addresses results after the relocation. The results show that several activities were used to involve employees in the planning process. Employee satisfaction and perceived performance were rated in more positive terms after the relocation than before. The company’s process can be considered as a good example of planning and design processes.

  • 10.
    Rolfö, Linda
    et al.
    KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering, Ergonomics.
    Jahncke, Helena
    Eklund, Jörgen
    KTH, School of Technology and Health (STH), Health Systems Engineering, Ergonomics.
    Perceptions of performance and satisfaction after relocation to an activity-based office2017In: Ergonomics, ISSN 0014-0139, E-ISSN 1366-5847Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 11.
    Rolfö, Linda
    et al.
    KTH, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH), Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems, Ergonomics.
    Jahncke, Helena
    University of Gävle.
    Slunga Järvholm, Lisbeth
    Umeå University.
    Öhrn, Maria
    Umeå University.
    Babapour, Maral
    Chalmers University of Technology.
    Predictors of Preference for the Activity-based Flexible Office2018In: 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 (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.

1 - 11 of 11
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