The impact of open-plan office spatial components on the perceived human behaviour and level of collaboration: The United Arab Emirates




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


The concept of workplace collaboration has been extensively studied over the past years. The evaluation of employee perceptions and workplace behaviours dates back more than 70 years and serves as the topic's basis. The majority of these studies ignored the office layout environment in favour of focusing on job satisfaction. In contrast, studies that analysed the indoor office environment only considered thermal and acoustic comfort, lighting, and indoor air quality in relation to employees' job satisfaction. A limited focus in organizational studies has been done on individuals' communication and collaboration patterns in various layouts, and contradictions are common in the ongoing debate about the benefits and drawbacks of open-plan versus cellular office spaces.

The reduced concern for perceived effective collaboration has been observed locally in the United Arab Emirates, where offices are increasingly embracing the concept of employee engagement in the workplace. Therefore, this research aims to address the association between individual-group tasks perceived collaboration and office layouts.

In order to explore further into the topic of workplace perceived collaboration, there are three primary objectives of this study that might help in achieving the research aim: First, establish a conceptual framework for collaborative workplaces in interior design utilizing a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods. This study relied on four investigation tools to gather the data it needed: two qualitative approaches were used: "observations" and "design analysis"; and two quantitative: "interview questionnaires" and "space syntax". The qualitative data relevant to the field observation indicating the occupant’s movement, interactions and visual co-presence will be translated to quantitative data. The second objective is to demonstrate the appropriateness of the conceptual framework to the selected multiple offices in the UAE. The third purpose is to provide design guidelines for the selected case studies for any potential future improvement and for the benefit of other similar examples both locally and globally.

These examinations enable this study to address the primary research question of: " How should existing open-office spaces been designed to encourage a collaborative working environment?"

It is anticipated that the outcomes of the study will inform and help interior designers, architects, and company directors in better understanding employees' perceptions of collaboration in different selected office layouts. Consideration of these factors early in the workplace design process is envisioned to yield significant long-term benefits, as well as increase workers' productivity and engagement.





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