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Scientific Papers CfPB Garner Rewards

15 june 2017

In 2016, two scientific papers of ours appeared in the prestigious Journal of Corporate Real Estate. By their own account, “the leading forum for authoritative, practical guidance not only on current best practice but also the key issues of tomorrow that the CRE Manager or their advisors need to be aware of.”

Both papers were selected by the editors as among the top three papers to appear in the Journal last year and declared ‘Highly Commended papers’. The authors received a certificate of accomplishment, a nice recognition for their work.

The papers concerned are the following:  Accommodating new ways of working: lessons from best practices and worst cases and Flexibility in use: Switching behaviour and satisfaction in activity-based work environments. Both papers may be downloaded free of charge until June 1, 2018!

The first paper was entirely our own work, and the second was a collaboration with the University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen. Both research projects made extensive use of CfPB’s database of information about (dis)satisfaction with a wide variety of office environments. Systematic measuring and recording of the use and experience of the work environment are and will remain important in developing new knowledge related to the work environment.

The paper Determinants of satisfaction amongst tenants of UK offices (download) stayed just ahead of our own publications and was declared the winner. This paper explores which factors influence the satisfaction of tenants of office buildings and their decision on whether or not to extend their lease. Likewise thorough and interesting research. 

A brief description of the papers

Accommodating new ways of working: lessons from best practices and worst cases (download)
(Sandra Brunia, Iris De Been, Theo J.M. van der Voordt)

Purpose - The purpose of this study is to explore which factors may explain the high or low percentages of satisfied employees in offices with shared activity-based workplaces.

Findings - Overall, there are large differences in employee satisfaction between cases with, at first sight, a similar activity-based office concept. The main differences between the best and worst cases regard employee satisfaction with the interior design, level of openness, subdivision of space, number and diversity of work places and accessibility of the building. Employee satisfaction shows to be influenced by many physical characteristics of the work environment and by the implementation process. Satisfaction with the organisation may have an impact as well.

Practical implications - The data revealed clear critical success factors including a supportive spatial layout to facilitate communication and concentration, attractive architectural design, ergonomic furniture, appropriate storage facilities and coping with psychological and physical needs, such as privacy, thermal comfort, daylight and view. Critical process factors are the commitment of managers, a balance between a top-down and a bottom-up approach and clear instructions on how to use activity-based workplaces.

Flexibility in use: Switching behaviour and satisfaction in activity-based work environments (download)
(Jan Gerard Hoendervanger, Iris De Been, Nico W. Van Yperen, Mark P. Mobach, Casper J. Albers)

Purpose - Despite their growing popularity among organisations, satisfaction with activity-based work (ABW) environments is found to be below expectations. Research also suggests that workers typically do not switch frequently, or not at all, between different activity settings. Hence, the purpose of this study is to answer two main questions: Is switching behaviour related to satisfaction with ABW environments? Which factors may explain switching behaviour?

Findings - Satisfaction ratings of the 4 per cent of the respondents who switched several times a day appeared to be significantly above average. Switching frequency was found to be positively related to heterogeneity of the activity profile, share of communication work and external mobility.

Practical implications - Our findings suggest that satisfaction with ABW environments might be enhanced by stimulating workers to switch more frequently. However, as strong objections against switching were observed and switching frequently does not seem to be compatible with all work patterns, this will presumably not work for everyone. Many workers are likely to be more satisfied if provided with an assigned (multifunctional) workstation.