Transdisciplinary Workplace Research Conference 2020
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Session 1 Determinants of Coworking Spaces

"Team collaboration in open-plan offices"

Gemma Irving, Oluremi B. Ayoko, University of Queensland Business School St. Lucia /Australia

Abstract: Although organizations regularly adopt open-plan offices with the intention of improving collaboration, the literature reveals mixed finding about whether this is the case. Through a qualitative case study of five teams in an open-plan office, we reveal four types of collaborative activities that are facilitated by open-plan offices (i.e. instant information retrieval, instant information sharing, vicarious learning and collaborating with material cues). We also identify three conditions (i.e. interdependence, informal processes and functional diversity) that influence if and how teams use open-plan offices to collaborate. Our research moves debates away from a discussion about whether or not open-plan offices facilitate collaboration towards an understanding of the particular team conditions that may facilitate particular types of collaboration in open-plan offices.

"Differences in user preferences across European coworking spaces"

Rianne Appel-Meulenbroek, Eindhoven University of Technology/The Netherlands; Minou Weijs-Perrée, Eindhoven University/The Netherlands; Felix Gauger, Marco Orel, Andreas Pfnür, Technische Universität Darmstadt/Germany

Abstract: Due to the sharing economy and new forms of collaborations, work practices have changed and led to continuing popularity of coworking spaces.  The aim of this study was to find out whether user preferences and motivations are consistent among coworking space users across three different countries, namely the Netherlands, Germany and Czech Republic. Research has shown that coworking space users are heterogeneous by occupation and/or sector. Many are attracted by the potential for knowledge sharing and belonging to a working community, but other motivations have been identified for their use as well. Physically, these spaces are diverse in outside and inside appearance, from modern offices to redeveloped industrial warehouses. Their numbers are increasing, and worldwide chains are expanding rapidly.

To analyze potential differences between countries, a mixed multinomial logit model (MMNL) for each country was estimated. Data for this model was collected in the Netherlands (219 respondents), Germany (98 respondents) and Czech Republic (79 respondents), within three years (2016-2019). The online survey consisted out of two parts, namely a general questionnaire about personal- and work-related characteristics and a stated-choice experiment to collect data on preferences for important coworking space characteristics. The results showed that the vibrant and creative atmosphere of a coworking space is one of the main three motivations of coworking space users, followed by work-life balance. Professional appearance is more important in Germany compared to other countries. On the other hand, the opportunity for social interaction with other coworkers is more important for coworkers in the Netherlands, while flexibility is highly essential for coworkers in the Czech Republic. Concerning design preferences, coworkers in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic prefer a homier atmosphere and interior, while coworkers in Germany prefer a more modern interior. The findings showed that the accessibility of the location is the most crucial coworking space attribute for coworkers in the Czech Republic and Germany. For coworkers in the Netherlands, the type of lease contract is the most important aspect, when choosing a coworking space.

"Sustainability in the field of new work - an empirical study and potential analysis of "green coworking spaces""

Tristan Sören Holtkamp, alstria office REIT-AG Hamburg/Germany

This paper examines the influence of sustainability in the field of new work with a focus on coworking and coworking spaces. A sound analysis based on secondary literature will highlight the link between sustainability and coworking. Furthermore, possibilities for designing sustainable office space (i.e., a “green office”) are presented. In the second part of the paper, empirical research will examine the extent to which measures to increase sustainability in coworking-spaces are already being implemented and whether such a concept can offer a competitive advantage in the market. The empirical research model consists of guideline-structured qualitative expert interviews with operators of various coworking spaces, as well as experts in the fields of coworking and sustainability. The empiricism is supplemented by a quantitative survey conducted with coworkers. In summary, it can be said that a sustainably designed coworking space arouses great interest among coworkers and can offer an opportunity for differentiation in the increasingly competitive environment of the coworking-space industry. According to the survey, most coworkers are likely to accept an increased service charge for a green coworking space, which simplifies the implementation of such a concept from the operator’s point of view. This paper confirms the promising assimilation of a green coworking concept into the competence profile of coworking space operators.