From fading novelty effects to emergent appreciation of Activity-based Flexible Offices: Comparing the individual, organisational and spatial adaptations in two case organisations

Appl Ergon. 2019 Nov;81:102877. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2019.102877. Epub 2019 Jun 27.


Activity-based Flexible Offices (AFOs) are innovations in workspace design that have been increasingly implemented in organisations in recent years. There are conflicting research results on the long-term consequences of implementing AFOs. This paper investigates the changes (if any) that occur over time, in: 1) employee satisfaction with AFO solutions and perceived work support, 2) ways of working and using AFOs and 3) the AFO solution. Two organisations participated in the study. The data collection involved: (i) semi-structured interviews with 26 employees and (ii) process enquiries involving the collection of secondary data and interviews with facility management teams. The findings indicate that limited options for improving an AFO solution lead to lingering work environment problems. By contrast, modifying the solution through systematic processes based on employee feedback helped resolving the initial problems. Over time, this led to an increased appreciation and a sense of collective ownership of the AFO solution.

Keywords: Activity-based working (ABW); Occupational health and safety (OHS); Work environment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Environment Design*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Time Factors
  • Work / psychology*
  • Workplace / organization & administration*
  • Workplace / psychology