Guest blog post by Riikka Manninen, CityWorkLife project trainee
The inconsistencies of everyday life at the office create heated discussions among the workers themselves – but also among academic researchers. Change is a common word heard in the corridors and meeting rooms of office buildings. Change is happening in the intangible world steering businesses and organizations to adapt their practices in order to suit the current needs but, at the same time, change is also taking tangible forms in most organizations today. Advancements in technologies among other reasons have sparked a new “golden age” of office transformations.
New space planning techniques and methods have arisen to answer to the ever-growing needs for modifications and alterations. Hot-desking, hybrid spaces and innovative strategies for flexibility are beginning to be a common topic of discussion not just in architectural design firms but also among management and employees.
Interesting contradictions have risen from this ongoing wave of spatial changes. Research regarding personalization from past decades reveals the impacts of new spatial design strategies on the user – the everyday worker at the office. Personalization research from the time of the desktop computer highlights the positive impacts of office personalization in regards to job satisfaction and even productivity. What happens then, when we take the same people and place them in a hot-desking environment where personalization can be completely prohibited? Is there a way around the controversy, or is hot-desking merely a road to disengaged personnel working in a sterile environment?
The research regarding office personalization both from the individual’s and the organization’s perspective reveals the complexities of work place change management. The article “My Space, Your Space, Our Space – Findings from Research on Space Ownership, Workplace Personalization, Empowerment & Productivity” summarizes some of the most cited research regarding the effects of personalization and possible methods of finding the middle way in organizations of today. The article is one outcome of the CityWorkLife project and it was written to provide compact information regarding how the tangible world at the office might have surprising impacts on the intangible.
Picture: Werkheim – Hamburg