3 years ago

Longitudinal Effects of Activity-Based Flexible Office Design on Teamwork.

Christina Wohlers, Guido Hertel
This three-wave longitudinal interview study (time lag: 12 and 18 months) investigates the impact of working in an activity-based flexible office (A-FO) on processes within and across teams (i.e., communication, trust, cohesion, and collaboration) and team management. Based on a new theoretical framework on benefits and risks of A-FOs (A-FO-M; Wohlers and Hertel, 2017), we conducted interviews with 25 employees of an in-house training institute who recently switched from single cell or shared offices to an A-FO. The A-FO consisted of a main open-layout environment without assigned workstations and provided additional working zones appropriate for specific work activities. According to the A-FO-M, A-FO features are expected to alter visibility and proximity of employees compared to office environments with assigned workstations. Altered visibility and proximity, in turn, should be related to team processes, such as communication. The interview material was analyzed using qualitative content analysis. This textual analysis procedure revealed that the interviewees reported that inter-team collaboration improved while working in the A-FO. Reasons that were mentioned for this positive effect were more contact, communication, collaboration possibilities (joint project work), and trusting relationships. However, interviewees also reported negative effects, such as that teamwork suffered due to less communication and cooperation. Along with that, especially ensuring team cohesion and communication among team partners were the most often mentioned challenges for management since team members were spatially dispersed within the office building. Theoretical and practical implications, such as assigning additional team areas to support teamwork, as well as recommendations for future research are discussed.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02016

Open URL: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02016

DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02016

Open access
You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.