Eres : Digital Library : Works

Paper eres2011_316:
Generation Y in open plan offices

id eres2011_316
authors Rasila, Heidi; Rothe, Peggie
year 2011
title Generation Y in open plan offices
source 18th Annual European Real Estate Society Conference in Eindhoven, the Netherlands
summary Research on how the employees experience open plan offices is vast, but the results are mixed. Many studies find open plan offices to support communication, while others mainly recognise problems, such as noise and lack of concentration. Open plan offices have been studied among employees with various tasks and job descriptions. However, many of these employees have at some point in time gone through the change from a private office to open plan. It can only be assumed that previous experiences, and the way a new office solution was introduced, will influence employee opinions about open plan solutions. Therefore, the question is raised about how younger employees, who have never experienced anything but an open plan solution, experience their office environment. Do they perceive the usual problems that are often connected to open plan offices, such as noise, lack of privacy, and interruptions, as problematic as their older colleagues? This article aims at understanding how the youngest generation at work perceives problems that are linked to open plan offices. The article looks at one specific type of job and one group of office employees: generation Y – those born in 1980’s and early 1990’s – working in a contact centre environment. The research was done as a case study. In total 20 thematic interviews were carried out among the representatives from generation Y from three different sites of one big Finnish telecommunications company. The themes of the interviews were outlined by a thorough literature review concerning problems that are often linked to open office solutions. The findings suggest that the generation Y employees, in fact, liked their open plan office. They acknowledged most of the issues or “problems” that the literature suggests, but they did not necessarily see these in a negative manner. Instead, they often perceived these issues as fair trade-offs for some greater good. This result also supports the idea that open plan offices are complex and interrelated systems where all parts affect the others. Investigating only a part of the system, for example privacy, might give a distorted picture of the entity. The main limitation of this research is the small sample size, which should be taken into consideration when generalising the results. The findings do, however, add to the understanding about how generation Y perceives their work environment. They are the future users of the work environments and, thus, it is important to understand how they perceive different office solutions.
keywords paris office market, open plan, generation y
series ERES:conference
email heidi.rasila@tkk.fi
content file.ppt (1,496,576 bytes)
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ratings
session F5: Property Management (I)
last changed 2011/06/23 16:27
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