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Tomorrow's offices through today's eyes: Effects of innovation in the working environment

December 2001 | Paul Vos, Theo van der Voordt

Many   organisations   have   changed   to   new ways  of  working,  steered  or  followed  up  by design  interventions  and  sharing  of  activity-related   workplaces.   Expectations   have   been high.  Innovative  offices  should  lead  to  more efficient use of space and other facilities; greater job  satisfaction;  the  projection  of  a  positive image  to  clients;  an   improved  performance of  the  organisation  and  its  staff;  and  reduced costs. Have  innovations  in  the  working  environment  fulfilled  these  high  expectations? Are  the  new  offices  really  more  efficient  and more  pleasant  to  work  in?  Or  will  constant changing  of  the  workplace  reduce  satisfaction and  productivity?  What  are  the  ‘pros’  and ‘cons’  of  teleworking?  Are  the  extra  costs  of nice ergonomic furniture, high-tech information and   communication   technology   (ICT)   and image-boosting  gadgets  counterbalanced  by  the expected   profits   in   higher  productivity   and more  efficient  use  of  space? 

Evaluative  research   results   show   a   mixed   picture.   Besides   the   considerable   satisfaction   with   the attractive   design   and   the   improved   opportunities to interact, there are many complaints about   problems  in   concentrating   on   work. Psychological  mechanisms,  such  as  the  need for  status,  privacy  and  individual  territory, do  not  necessarily  hinder ‘flexi-working’, but only when the new situation provides considerable  added  value.  Teleworking   offers   more freedom of choice, but there are attendant risks.

In: Journal of Corporate Real Estate, vol 4 no 1.

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Theo van der Voordt

Theo van der Voordt

Senior Researcher │Msc, Civil Engineering