MaralBabapourChafi_

Jakten på vid-behov-rummet: varför vissa aktivitetsbaserade flexibla kontor fungerar och andra inte

Maral Babapour Chafi, Design & Human Factors IMS, försvarar sin doktorsavhandling.

Opponent: Assistant Professor Rianne Appel-Meulenbroek, Department of Architecture, Building and Planning at Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands.

Disputation
2019-04-26 13:00
Virtual Development Laboratory (VDL), Chalmers Tvärgata 4 - 6, Göteborg

Populär beskrivning ( på engelska)
The ‘Room of Requirement’ is a hidden room in Harry Potter’s school that changes according to what people need and wish for. The room takes on many shapes containing different artefacts and is used for various purposes by single or multiple users; it can be everything from a hiding place to a meeting place. Similarly, Activity-based Flexible Offices (AFOs) provide a variety of workspaces for employees to choose from depending on their activities or preferences. In other words, the intention behind implementing AFOs is to make a ‘Room of Requirement’ that is equipped for people depending on what they need. The difference is that AFOs comprise rooms that are already equipped and do not necessarily change to suit whatever the employees need them to be. The work presented in this thesis examines why some AFOs work while others do not, based on five case studies. 
The findings show that AFOs are not inherently good or bad types of offices. Their design should match individual employees’ needs. First, the desk-sharing rule should be clearly specified and communicated. Second, the workspaces should be designed to match both the activities of the employees and their preferences for wellbeing and enjoyment. Third, collective instruments such as keyboards, mouses and office chairs should be designed for multiple users so that it is easier to switch workstations. Finally, the processes of moving to AFOs and making adjustments after the move are central. When employees do not have individual workstations, time and effort are required for collective customisation of AFOs to create joint ownership of the workspace.

Preface
The term ‘Room of Requirement’ is borrowed from Harry Potter’s Hogwarts; a room in the school that changes according to what people need and wish for. To open the room, the users had to walk three times past an area with a hidden door, thinking of what they needed. The door to the room would then appear, and the room would be equipped with artefacts that the user needed. For example, if the user needed a place to study, walked past the area of the door three times thinking, "I need a place to study", then the door would appear for the user to enter and find everything necessary for studying, such as books, desks, chairs, bookshelves and so on. The room took on a variety of shapes and was used for various purposes by single or multiple users; it was everything from a hiding place to a meeting place.
Per definition, Activity-based Flexible Offices (AFOs) resemble the ‘Room of Requirement’, in that they provide a variety of workspaces for employees to choose from depending on their activities or preferences. In other words, the intention behind implementing AFOs is to make a ‘Room of Requirement’ that is equipped for people depending on what they need. The difference is that AFOs comprise rooms that are already equipped and do not necessarily change to conform to whatever the employees need them to be. Just like with the ‘Room of Requirements’, office employees are required to search through the various office areas in the quest for a workspace.
Organisations that implement or contemplate implementing AFOs also go on a quest to find optimal real-estate solutions that can help them realise strategic goals such as increased collaboration, productivity and work environment satisfaction, as well as reduced occupancy costs and energy consumption. 
My quest in the course of this research has been to understand the consequences for employees’ work and work environment of the transition from traditional offices to AFOs, from having their own desks to sharing workspaces.  
The work presented in this thesis examines how well implementations of AFOs succeed in providing rooms of requirement and meeting employees’ needs. 



Publicerad: fr 12 apr 2019. Ändrad: on 08 maj 2019