Impact of Workspace Layout on Occupant Satisfaction perceived Health and Productivity

New ABW Research from Dr. Christhina Candido (et al.) shines new light on ABW, Hive and Cell office environment occupants perception on health and productivity. Having used the Bossa database she evaluated more than 30 buildings and 5,171 building occupants in Australia.

Open-plan layouts have evolved significantly over the last decades with innovative concepts such as Activity-Based Working (ABW) becoming the norm in workspace layout. ABW by definition requires the creation of a variety of spaces for the occupants to select from, depending on requirements of the task at hand.

While much research has been done in documenting the impacts of conventional open-plan layouts. Given the hyperbole around ABW coming from the industry, it is surprising that so little empirical research conducted in ABW has been performed to date.

This paper aims to contribute to this knowledge gap by examining the impact of different workspace layouts on occupants’ overall satisfaction on key IEQ dimensions, perceived productivity and perceived health. Post-occupancy evaluation results from 5,171 building occupants in 30 buildings from the Building Occupant Survey System Australia – BOSSA – database were used for this analysis.

Floor plans were analysed and classified into three broad categories: Hive, ABW and Cell. Results indicated that occupants in ABW layouts were generally more satisfied with IEQ issues, such as space for breaks, interaction with colleagues, space to collaborate, air quality and building aesthetics, compared to those in Hive or Cell layouts.

ABW was also in association with higher occupant satisfaction than the other two spatial configurations in terms of overall work area comfort and the overall building satisfaction. Not surprisingly, Cell layouts were more successful in producing higher satisfaction scores on sound privacy and visual privacy.

This abstract and research was originally published on