Space, Behavior, and Environmental Perception in Open Plan Offices: A Prospective Study
Scholarly/refereed, author accepted manuscript
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This prospective research study was conducted at a government office, which moved from an open plan office with somewhat enclosed workspaces to another open plan office with open workspaces. The study at the old office was conducted almost one year before the move, and the study at the new office was conducted more than one year after the move. The purpose of this study was threefold: (1) to measure and evaluate changes in patterns of accessibility and visibility due to changes in office layout, (2) to understand the effects of layout changes on observed behaviors, and (3) to determine the effects of layout changes on environmental perception. The study included the analysis of visibility and accessibility of each layout using space syntax techniques, field observations of behaviors, and questionnaire surveys of employees’ perception of privacy, job satisfaction and commitment to organization. During field observations, movement, visible copresence (i.e., the number of people visible from a space) and face-to-face interaction were observed along a predefined route in each office. Thirty-five people responded to the questionnaire survey at the old office. Out of 35, only 29 were available for survey at the new office. Based on the questionnaire survey data, three multi-item scales were constructed to measure perceived privacy, job satisfaction and commitment to organization. Results indicate better visibility and accessibility, increased face-to-face interactions, and improved perceived privacy at the new office. Results also show consistent effects of space on movement, and significant positive correlations between perceived privacy, job satisfaction and commitment to organization at these locations despite significant design differences. Implications of the research results and limitations of the research design are discussed.
Rashid M, Wineman J, Zimring C. “Space, Behavior, and Environmental Perception in Open Plan Offices: A Prospective Study,” Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 2009, 36, 432-449. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1068/b33034.
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