Individual Differences in Satisfaction With Activity-Based Work Environments

PLoS One. 2018 Mar 8;13(3):e0193878. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193878. eCollection 2018.


Satisfaction with activity-based work environments (ABW environments) often falls short of expectations, with striking differences among individual workers. A better understanding of these differences may provide clues for optimising satisfaction with ABW environments and associated organisational outcomes. The current study was designed to examine how specific psychological needs, job characteristics, and demographic variables relate to satisfaction with ABW environments. Survey data collected at seven organizations in the Netherlands (N = 551) were examined using correlation and regression analyses. Significant correlates of satisfaction with ABW environments were found: need for relatedness (positive), need for privacy (negative), job autonomy (positive), social interaction (positive), internal mobility (positive), and age (negative). Need for privacy appeared to be a powerful predictor of individual differences in satisfaction with ABW environments. These findings underline the importance of providing work environments that allow for different work styles, in alignment with different psychological need strengths, job characteristics, and demographic variables. Improving privacy, especially for older workers and for workers high in need for privacy, seems key to optimizing satisfaction with ABW environments.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Privacy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace / organization & administration
  • Workplace / psychology*
  • Young Adult

Grant support

A PhD grant awarded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO; enabled JGH to work on this study. Grant number: 023.003.166. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.