The impact of new working practices on employee productivity

Jayantha Wadu Mesthrige (Department of Building and Real Estate, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Yat Hung Chiang (Department of Building and Real Estate, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

Journal of Facilities Management

ISSN: 1472-5967

Publication date: 7 May 2019



This study aims to analyse the impact on employee productivity of adopting the activity-based working (ABW) a form of new work practices (NWPs). A study of this nature has never been made in Asia.


A mixed methods design was used, which combined a comprehensive literature review, three interviews with senior professionals and a questionnaire survey with 37 office occupiers all from one international real estate consultancy firm in Hong Kong, as a case study, to analyse the impact of ABW on employee productivity.


Findings suggest that ABW influences employee productivity to a certain degree. Though both physical and behavioural working environmental factors influence employee productivity in general, the latter factors were relatively more influential. Interestingly, though space-per-employee has been reduced under the ABW, this has not affected employee performance negatively. However, findings indicate that distraction elements (e.g. interruptions, overcrowding and noise) do have a negative influence on employee performance.

Research limitations/implications

The scope of this exploratory study is limited to Hong Kong and to a small sample of respondents representing one international real estate firm. However, the results could be interpreted for critical learning in other similarly expensive real estate rental markets.


The study highlighted the impact of not only physical but also behavioural working environment factors on employee productivity. The maximum benefits of NWPs can only be accomplished by striking a balance between aspects of physical and behavioural working environments.



Wadu Mesthrige, J. and Chiang, Y. (2019), "The impact of new working practices on employee productivity", Journal of Facilities Management, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 122-141.

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