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Flexibility in use

April 2016 | Jan Gerard Hoendervanger, Iris De Been, Nico W. van Yperen, Mark P. Mobach, Casper J. Albers

Paper in the Journal of Corporate Real Estate, Vol. 18 Iss 1 pp. 48-62. Due to copyright unfortunately it's not possible to give access to the full article.


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 purposeof this study is to answer two main questions: Is switching behaviour related to satisfaction with ABW environments? Which factors may explain switching behaviour?


Questionnaire data provided by users of ABW environments (n  3,189) were used to carry out ANOVA and logistic regression analyses.


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.


In a large representative sample, clear evidence was found for relationships between behavioural aspects and appreciation of ABW environments that had not been studied previously.