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Personalization in non-territorial offices: a study of a human need

September 2009 | Sandra Brunia, Anca Gosselink

Personalization and the non-territorial office seem to be contradicting concepts. It is generally accepted that it is not possible to personalize workplaces in environments where no fixed individual workplaces are allocated. However, people seem to have a human need of personalization. Personalization can be done in different ways and for different reasons. Based on a literature reviewand a qualitative case study at a Dutch governmental organization, the purpose of this paper is toexplain why and how personalization occurs in environments where non-territorial office concepts are introduced. Conclusions of the study indicate personalization to be a relevant factor for consideration when implementing a non-territorial office design: when objects are prohibited to personalize your work environment, people seek several additional ways to make the environment familiar and comfortable for them and to mark their identity in the organization.

The article was published in English.