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Adjusting and re-adjusting: learnings from the experience of coworkers for the future of coworking and shared working spaces

Louise Suckley (Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK, and)
Marko Orel (Department of Entrepreneurship, University of Economics Prague, Prague, Czech Republic)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Article publication date: 30 January 2024

Issue publication date: 4 March 2024

205

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the learning gained from the evolving adjustment experiences of co-workers in moving to home-based working during the COVID-19 pandemic and the influence of these experiences on re-adjusting to return to co-working.

Design/methodology/approach

Results of a longitudinal qualitative study are reported where a group of co-workers were interviewed on three occasions between 2019 and 2022. Experiences are analysed alongside the adjustment to the remote work model using a boundary management lens.

Findings

The main adjustment experiences were in work location, temporal structures, professional and social interactions, and a new adjustment area was identified around family role commitment that emerged in the home-based setting. Boundary management practices were temporal, behavioural, spatial and object-related and evolved with the unfolding of adjustment experiences. A return to using co-working spaces was driven by the need for social interaction and spatial boundaries but affected by the requirement for increased privacy.

Practical implications

This paper will help workplace managers to understand adjustment experiences and develop facilities that will support a positive shared working environment not fulfilled through home-based working.

Originality/value

Although many workers abruptly transitioned to home-based working during the pandemic, this research considers those who would normally choose to work in a community-centred working environment rather than being home-based. As such, their experience of adjustment is of greater interest, particularly in terms of their expectations for shared working spaces.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authos thank the anonymous reviewers and other members of the editorial team for their continued support and guidance throughout the review process for their valuable and constructive feedback.

Citation

Suckley, L. and Orel, M. (2024), "Adjusting and re-adjusting: learnings from the experience of coworkers for the future of coworking and shared working spaces", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 146-163. https://doi.org/10.1108/JWL-11-2022-0162

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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