Activity-Based Workplace Design: An Australian Perspective

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Copyright: Theresianto, Simon
Abstract
Activity-based working (ABW) refers to office design theories that are meant to optimise workspace efficiency by providing multiple workspaces for a specific work function, and eliminate the personal cubicle in favour for functional spaces, leading to improved productivity. Rather than employees ‘owning’ spaces, they are free to move between spaces to carry out workplace tasks. Since its inception in the early 1990s, ABW has been implemented worldwide, however, the approach has experienced interpretations in the way it has been implemented. ABW was focused on Europe, and has quickly been adopted by large Australian corporations in their recent office designs, such as the Commonwealth Bank. ABW is being embraced due to its innovativeness (fostering cooperation and creativity) and ability to bring high levels of accountability to employees, prompting alleviation of supervisory burden. The adoption of ABW in Australia is relatively new and the study illustrates how ABW has evolved within Australia, where it has been adopted and how it reflects established practice in Europe. The literature review identified five major characteristics of ABW: non -assigned seating, variety of work spaces, flexibility of work spaces, breakout spaces, and flexibility of future fit out. The study quantitatively evaluated 60 companies located in Australia that have introduced ABW designs within their workspaces to determine the adoption level. Out of these 60 companies, five companies, NAB, BHP, Woods Bagot, Fujitsu, and GPT Group were selected for a qualitative analysis. It was found all companies had similar approaches to ABW design. The research study found that all the analysed companies adopted all five, or most of the five, characteristics of ABW.
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Theresianto, Simon
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Publication Year
2017
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Thesis
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Masters Thesis
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