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.
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.
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.
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.
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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