Improving open plan offices - balancing technical and use-based solutions
||Heidi Rasila, Peggie Rothe and Suvi Nenonen
||Improving open plan offices - balancing technical and use-based solutions
||19th Annual European Real Estate Society Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland
||Work environments are complex and interrelated systems of people, processes and places, where there are no “one size fits all”¯ -solutions. In office context the workplace and facilities managers face this complexity when they try to optimize the environments to meet the needs of the organization, employees and the work processes. Technical modifications in the physical environment are one option when developing the open plan office. However, these technical solutions can be expensive and they still do not guarantee a better user experience. A psychosocial approach to open plan offices provides development by focusing on the use of the environment. The aim of this paper is to approach open plan office improvements from a psychosocial perspective and to identify what kind of solutions can be offered by changing the way the environment is used. The research is conducted as a case study in one organization that had gone through an extensive workplace change project two years earlier when the organization moved from a space with private rooms to an open plan office solution. The new work environment was, however, perceived as problematic by the employees. In order to understand the user experiences and to find solutions to the problems, data was collected through both objective technical measurements and a walkthrough audit that was carried out together with users of the open-plan office. The research revealed that the problems could be tackled not only by expensive technical renovations but also by making some spatial modifications and changing the way the environment was used. This indicates that, when aiming for satisfied users, it is important to balance technical solutions and the ways the space is used. The workplace change process is not finished when the new office has been accommodated; adaptation of new ways to use the office is essential and both the physical and psychosocial work environments have to be taken care of. This paper is provides a framework, which incorporates both technical aspects and the use of the space, for understanding the end-user experience in the work environment.
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||Parallel Session D9
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