Workplaces of the Future : - Guidelines for an Implementation of Activity Based Workplaces

University essay from KTH/Fastigheter och byggande; KTH/Fastigheter och byggande


Activity Based Workplaces (ABW) is the latest trend within the office layout for knowledge workers. The design and layout of an activity based workplace is based on the worker's need to carry out different tasks, in the most efficient way. In order to achieve that the office is divided into different zones and the workers doesn't have a private work-station. The biggest advantage with ABW is a space efficient working environment that promotes knowledge- and information sharing within the company’s different departments.

The purpose of this master thesis is to investigate how to implement Activity Based Workplaces in an efficient way. In order to do that a literature review on existing research and a qualitative study have been carried out. The qualitative study is based on interviews with key persons at five different companies that have implemented ABW or had the intention to do so. The transition to ABW have been studied in three different blocks;

the decision process, the implementation process and the outcome and user perspective.

The analysis of the results from the qualitative study shows that the transition includes a lot of different challenges. One of the biggest challenge that the management has to overcome is to assure the co-workers that the implementation of an Activity Based Workplace will bring positive effects to the company. In order to achieve that it is important that the management acquires the right knowledge to successfully handle the implementation and is able to create a clear strategy of how to do so. During the process it is important to involve the co-workers in order to identify their needs. After all it is the co-workers who carry out the activities that the workplace is supposed to support. The involvement of the co-workers will also create a more positive attitude towards the concept of ABW. After the implementation of the Activity Based Workplace the challenge lies within the ability to constantly adapt and develop the office space after the changing needs of the company and its co-workers. The co-workers changing needs are hard to identify in advance, therefore it is important to adapt the workplace when these needs are identified.

The demand for space efficient offices will grow in the future and in comparison to a traditional office space layout, we believe the Activity Based Workplace allows for a workplace better suited for the needs of the company and its co-workers.

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