to evaluate the experiences of knowledge workers who work in shared workspaces and those who moved from single-cell offices to shared workspaces.
Knowledge workers were surveyed before and after 34% moved from single-cell offices to shared workspaces. The authors exploit this panel design in the analysis.
Shared offices were rated as providing more distraction, less privacy and worsened indoor environment quality (IEQ) (p < 0.05). Perceptions of collaboration and networking also declined in shared workspaces. Distraction and a lack of privacy were negatively associated with self-reported productivity (p < 0.10). Neither IEQ nor collaboration nor networking was significantly associated with productivity. The perceptions of those who moved to shared workspaces and those who had worked in shared workspaces all along were statistically indistinguishable.
The quasi-experimental control provides evidence that it is the office type, not the experience of moving, that accounts for the evaluative changes. There are limitations inherent in using a self-rating performance measure.
Organisations should be aware that the positive outcomes ascribed to shared spaces may not be apparent and that demands may outweigh benefits.
Knowledge workers are particularly impacted by distraction and interruptions to concentrated work. The quasi-experimental design controlled for the Hawthorne effect, demonstrating that it is the office type, not the move, that accounts for differences in perceptions.
Morrison, R.L. and Stahlmann-Brown, P. (2021), "Perceptions and performance of knowledge workers transitioning from single-cell offices to shared workspaces: evidence from panel data", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 366-381. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-09-2019-0531
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