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Workplace alignment: An evaluation of office worker flexibility and workplace provision

Barry P. Haynes (Department of The Natural and Built Environment, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK)
Louise Suckley (Department of Management, Sheffield Business School, Sheffield, UK)
Nick Nunnington (Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)


ISSN: 0263-2772

Article publication date: 12 June 2019

Issue publication date: 17 September 2019




The paper aims to explore the relationship between office occupier work activity and workplace provision. It tests the proposition that location-fixed office workers are not well-supported in the working environment as location-flexible office workers. The research also explores the perceptions of the workplace provision based upon the types of tasks completed at the desk-location, whether this was collaborative or focussed.


The research adopts a cross-sectional approach using an online questionnaire to collect data from several offices in the Middles East. The dataset consists of 405 responses. One-way analysis of variance was conducted to understand the relationship between location flexibility and perception of productivity. In addition, a series of t test were used to evaluate the relationship between work activities and office environment.


The results show that those workers who were location-fixed perceived the workplace provision to have a more negative impact on their productivity than those who had a greater level of location-flexibility, particularly with regards to noise levels and interruptions. In terms of types of activities, those that undertook more collaborative tasks valued the facilitation of creativity and interaction from the workplace provision.

Research limitations/implications

The research has limitations as data collection was at one-point in time and therefore lacks the opportunity to undertake longitudinal analysis. However, the research gives greater insights into the alignment of office environments based on flexibility and work activity.

Practical implications

The paper identifies implications for the design and development of office environments by identifying the need for office occupier activity profiles. These profiles can underpin data-led design which should promote a tailored choice appropriate work setting that can maximise productivity.


This paper contributes to the research area of workplace alignment. It establishes that optimal workplace alignment requires a better understanding of office occupier needs based on location-flexibility and work activity.



Assistance with the data collection, using member databases, and some of the research on which this study is based, was funded and supported by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Middle East) and Middle East Council for Offices.


Haynes, B.P., Suckley, L. and Nunnington, N. (2019), "Workplace alignment: An evaluation of office worker flexibility and workplace provision", Facilities, Vol. 37 No. 13/14, pp. 1082-1103.



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