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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2011

Peggie Rothe, Anna‐Liisa Lindholm, Ari Hyvönen and Suvi Nenonen

The work environment has been identified to influence employee satisfaction and work performance. In order to develop and provide work environments that meet the…

Abstract

Purpose

The work environment has been identified to influence employee satisfaction and work performance. In order to develop and provide work environments that meet the preferences of as many employees as possible, more information about user preferences and possible preference differences between different kinds of users is required. The purpose of this paper is to increase the understanding concerning office users' work environment preferences. The aim is to investigate whether there are differences in the preferences of office users based on their age, gender, their mobility, and whether they work individually or with others.

Design/methodology/approach

Office users' work environment preferences are studied through a survey directed to office employees. Statistical analysis is used in order to identify work environment preference differences between respondents of different age, gender, and the way they work.

Findings

The results indicate that there are differences between office users' work environment preferences concerning some characteristics of the work environment. The results show that the preferences vary both based on demographic issues such as age and gender as well as based on how they work.

Research limitations/implications

The research is limited to the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland, so the cultural context has to be taken into account when generalising the results.

Originality/value

The paper provides several stakeholders, such as user organisations, designers, consultants, and investors, valuable information on what kind of work environments office users prefer.

Details

Journal of Corporate Real Estate, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-001X

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Ana Chadburn, Judy Smith and Joshua Milan

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the drivers that allow for enhanced personal productivity of knowledge-based workers in Central London focusing on the physical and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the drivers that allow for enhanced personal productivity of knowledge-based workers in Central London focusing on the physical and social environment as well as worker’s individual preferences.

Design/methodology/approach

A closed-ended questionnaire was sent to employees of eight professional companies (Consultancy, Financial and Media Services) based in Central London. Of the 500 questionnaires sent, 213 were successfully completed and returned, representing a response rate of 42.6 per cent.

Findings

The findings from this trial study show that comfort, convenience, IT connectivity, good design and working to a specific time scale were strong drivers of personal productivity. Knowledge workers prefer a flexible range of office settings that enable both a stimulating open and connected work environment, knowledge sharing, collaboration, as well as quiet concentration locations, free of distractions and noise. It was also found that moves of knowledge workers into open-plan office space (and especially fee earners) is normally met with initial resistance. However, there is normally greater acceptance of open space after experiencing an actual move into open-plan, with benefits improving teamwork and communication being highlighted. The research also stresses that office design considerations need to be closer aligned with knowledge worker’s overall well-being and individual psychological needs.

Research limitations/implications

Limited to Central London offices and self-assessed evaluation of productivity drivers within the knowledge worker’s office environment.

Practical implications

Corporate real estate managers and office occupiers, designers and facilities managers can use the findings as part of their workplace strategy by providing a range of flexible workplaces that allow the knowledge worker a place for greater personal productivity through the provision of a well-designed collaborative office environment alongside private and quiet working spaces. Developers and landlords should also be aware of these requirements when taking their decisions.

Originality/value

This paper focuses specifically on the high-productivity knowledge-based work environment, demonstrating that there is a need to consider the collaborative physical and social environment and the individual preferences of knowledge workers to ensure enhanced personal productivity and well-being within the office. This can be achieved through the provision of a well-designed office space that allows for open, connected and comfortable work environments, as well as opportunities to use dedicated concentration spaces that are free of distraction. It was also shown that hot-desking was unanimously disliked by knowledge workers.

Details

Journal of Corporate Real Estate, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-001X

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Article
Publication date: 17 July 2007

Barry P. Haynes

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the role the behavioural environment plays in office productivity.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate the role the behavioural environment plays in office productivity.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews the literature from the occupier perspective. This approach enables a greater appreciation of the social context of offices. The review establishes the need to link work process with the office environment. It identifies the need to understand how occupiers make sense of space through personalisation. The balance between the positive interactions in the office and negative distractions are explored.

Findings

The review of the literature reveals that by adopting the occupier perspective potential tensions can be identified between individual, private and team‐based collaborative work areas. These tensions can have an impact on the office occupier's productivity.

Originality/value

This paper establishes that to ensure office environments are designed for optimum productivity; consideration needs to be given to the role of the behavioural environment. Office environments need to be designed to enhance collaboration, whilst at the same time ensure individual private work is not compromised.

Details

Journal of Facilities Management, vol. 5 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-5967

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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2008

Barry P. Haynes

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the impact office layout has on office occupiers' productivity.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the impact office layout has on office occupiers' productivity.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper evaluates the literature that claims to make a linkage between the office layout and the effect on office occupiers' productivity. Two main themes are developed. First, the literature that links office layout to work patterns is evaluated, and second, the open‐plan office vs cellular office debate is developed.

Findings

The review of the literature reveals that the connection between the three major components of office layout, office occupiers' work patterns and productivity is not clearly established.

Originality/value

The paper establishes that there is a requirement to link together office layout to the work patterns of office occupiers. It is only when the connection is made between the office layout and the office occupiers' work patterns that productivity gains can be achieved. To support the different work patterns undertaken, the facilities manager can create office environments that consist of a balance between private space and communal shared space. The amount of balance will be very much dependent on the mix of the work patterns in the office.

Details

Journal of Facilities Management, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-5967

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Article
Publication date: 15 May 2007

Barry P. Haynes

The aim of this paper is to provide a validated theoretical framework for the measurement of office productivity.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to provide a validated theoretical framework for the measurement of office productivity.

Design/methodology/approach

The study's strength is that it is based on two sizable data sets. The data collected consists of data about the physical characteristics of the office environment and data pertaining to the behavioural environment.

Findings

One of the key contributions of this study was the development of the components of office productivity, which were: comfort, office layout, informal interaction points, environmental services, designated areas, interaction and distraction. The components were reduced to four in preparation for subsequent analysis. The four distinct components were comfort, office layout, interaction and distraction.

Originality/value

This study establishes that it is the behavioural environment that has the greatest impact on office productivity. It demonstrates that it is the dynamic elements of the office environment, interaction and distraction that are perceived as having the greatest positive and negative influences on self assessed productivity.

Details

Journal of Corporate Real Estate, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-001X

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Barry Haynes, Louise Suckley and Nick Nunnington

Open-plan office environments are considered to offer workplace productivity benefits because of the opportunities that they create for interaction and knowledge exchange…

Abstract

Purpose

Open-plan office environments are considered to offer workplace productivity benefits because of the opportunities that they create for interaction and knowledge exchange, but more recent research has highlighted noise, distraction and loss of privacy as significant productivity penalties with this office layout. This study aims to investigate if the purported productivity benefits of open plan outweigh the potential productivity penalties.

Design/methodology/approach

Previous research suggests that office environments are experienced differently according to the gender and age of the occupier across both open-plan and enclosed configurations. Empirical research undertaken with office occupiers in the Middle East (N = 220) led to evaluations to establish the impact different offices had on perceived productivity. Factor analysis was used to establish five underlying components of office productivity. The five factors are subsequently used as the basis for comparison between office occupiers based on age, gender and office type.

Findings

This research shows that benefits and penalties to workplace productivity are experienced equally across open-plan and enclosed office environments. The greatest impact on perceived workplace productivity however was availability of a variety of physical layouts, control over interaction and the “downtime” offered by social interaction points. Male occupiers and those from younger generations were also found to consider the office environment to have more of a negative impact on their perceived workplace productivity compared to female and older occupiers.

Originality/value

The originality of this paper is that it develops the concept of profiling office occupiers with the aim of better matching office provision. This paper aims to establish different occupier profiles based on age, gender and office type. Data analysis techniques such as factor analysis and t-test analysis identify the need for different spaces so that occupiers can choose the most appropriate space to best undertake a particular work task. In addition, it emphasises the value that occupiers place on “downtime” leading to the need for appropriate social space.

Details

Journal of Corporate Real Estate, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-001X

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Article
Publication date: 31 December 2007

Thomas J. Zagenczyk, Audrey J. Murrell and Ray Gibney

The aim of this article is to examine how office designs influence social capital or the value inherent in relationships. More specifically, this article attempts to…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this article is to examine how office designs influence social capital or the value inherent in relationships. More specifically, this article attempts to better understand the level to which the value of social capital accrues, either to the individual or to the group.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors review theoretical and empirical research on the physical work environment and social capital to develop propositions that relate the effects of open office environments on the development of group‐ and individual‐level social capital.

Findings

It is argued that an open‐office environment, defined as an office design that attempts to maximize functional communication among organization members by removing physical barriers that hinder the flow of work and communications, can positively affect the development of social capital within an organization. Specifically, it is suggested that open office designs will foster the development of group‐level social capital (i.e. social capital that benefits the group, the result of network closure) but reduce individual‐level social capital (i.e. social capital that benefits individuals who connect otherwise unconnected groups in the network, or structural holes).

Practical implications

By effectively managing the physical work environment, organizations can better control and/or influence the frequency and nature of interactions between employees, which may result in desirable outcomes for both the organization and employees.

Originality/value

The article integrates two streams of literature – social capital and physical work environment – and will be of interest to researchers in both literature groups. In addition, office managers and designers can benefit from the discussion in an effort to foster group level social capital.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2019

Barry P. Haynes, Louise Suckley and Nick Nunnington

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…

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

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Article
Publication date: 4 April 2008

Barry P. Haynes

The purpose of this paper is to develop a validated theoretical framework for the evaluation of office productivity, which includes components to represent both the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a validated theoretical framework for the evaluation of office productivity, which includes components to represent both the physical and the behavioural environment. It is proposed that by adopting such an approach, insights into the dynamic nature, or connectivity, of office environments can be established. The main objective of this paper is to investigate the effects of the office environment on its occupants' perceived productivity.

Design/methodology/approach

The study's strength is that it is based on two sizable data sets. The data collected consists of data about the physical characteristics of the office environment and data pertaining to the behavioural environment.

Findings

Results are analysed for specific work patterns, to establish meaning and relationships. In all of the four work patterns evaluated it was found that interaction was perceived to be the component to have the most positive affect on productivity and distraction was perceived to have the most negative. It is proposed that the results in this paper will provide support for the hypothesis that it is the behavioural components of the office environment that have the greatest impact on office productivity.

Research limitations/implications

This research establishes that to truly appreciate office productivity there is a need to further understand the behavioural environment. Whilst this research evaluates different work styles and office productivity, there is a possibility to extend this to investigate personality and team role types.

Originality/value

This study establishes that it is the behavioural environment that has the greatest impact on office productivity. It demonstrates that it is the dynamic elements of the office environment, interaction and distraction that are perceived as having the greatest positive and negative influences on self assessed productivity.

Details

Facilities, vol. 26 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-2772

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 November 2018

Hanne Berthelsen, Tuija Muhonen and Susanna Toivanen

There is an increased interest for introducing activity-based offices at universities. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the knowledge about the importance of…

Abstract

Purpose

There is an increased interest for introducing activity-based offices at universities. The purpose of this study is to contribute to the knowledge about the importance of the built environment for the psychosocial work environment within academia by analyzing how staff at a large Swedish university experienced the physical and psychosocial work environment before and after moving to activity-based offices.

Design/methodology/approach

A Web-based survey was distributed to all employees at two faculties at a university three months before (2015, n = 217, response rate 51 per cent) and nine months after (2016, n = 200, response rate 47 per cent) relocation to a new activity-based university building.

Findings

In the new premises, a vast majority (86 per cent) always occupied the same place when possible, and worked also more often from home. The social community at work had declined and social support from colleagues and supervisors was perceived to have decreased. The participants reported a lower job satisfaction after the relocation and were more likely to seek new jobs. No aspects in the physical or psychosocial work environment were found to have improved after the relocation.

Research/limitations implications

The study had a two-wave cross-sectional design, which does not allow establishing causal relations.

Practical implications

There is reason to be cautious about relocation to activity-based offices at universities. The potential savings in costs for premises may lead to may be followed by an increase in other costs. The risk that staff cannot concentrate on their work in activity-based university workplaces and lose their sense of community with colleagues are factors, which in the long run may lead to decreased efficiency, more conflicts and poorer well-being.

Originality/value

This paper contributes with new knowledge concerning changes in the physical and psychosocial work environment when relocating from cell offices to activity-based offices in a university setting.

Details

Journal of Corporate Real Estate, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-001X

Keywords

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