TUTCRIS - Tampereen teknillinen yliopisto


Job Crafting Aspects to Support Well-being at Work in an Activity-based Office

Tutkimustuotos: Konferenssiesitys, posteri tai abstrakti


TilaJulkaistu - elokuuta 2017
TapahtumaWORK2017: Work and Labour in the Digital Future - Turku School of Economics, Turku, Suomi
Kesto: 16 elokuuta 201718 elokuuta 2017




Well-being at today’s demanding and constantly changing work is important. The well-being of the employees can be seen as a strategic asset in organisations (Slemp et al. 2015). Besides the work itself, the context of work, work environment, is changing. The so-called activity-based offices are increasing in number (Kim et al. 2016). The activity-based offices differ from traditional cellular or open-plan offices in the way that they no longer provide a dedicated, personal work desk for every single employee. Compared to other office types, activity-based offices typically include many different work settings or areas, which differ from each other in terms of possibility to concentrate on individual or group work, collaboration, privacy etc. Objectives of such work environments relate to cost savings, improving cross-departmental collaboration (Kim et al. 2016), autonomy and job satisfaction. It has been stated that the activity-based working improves work satisfaction because of the freedom of choice and autonomy and improves the health and well-being of employees (van der Voordt 2004) However, the activity-based office concept posits some challenges for workers and their well-being. Although the amount of activity-based offices is increasing, the satisfaction with the concept appears to be below expectations (Hoendervanger et al 2016).  Activity-based offices are criticized for the loss of personalisation of workplace, risk of inadequate ergonomy and hygiene of shared desks. Additionally, Elsbach (2003) found that the activity-based work environment has the possibility to threaten workers’ workplace identities. In her study, it was also found that the office concept in question also negatively affected employees’ sense of belonging to a group. When considering the well-being of an employee, the work environment and the office design should be considered, too. Research has shown that the office design affects the identity of an individual, as well as their creativity, mood, comfort, ergonomics and safety (Elsbach & Bechky 2007) In general, occupational well-being is influenced by many factors. One model which can influence employee well-being and performance is the Job Demands-Resources (JD-R) model. The JD-R model claims that every work has their own demanding and motivating factors. Job demands are elements of work that demand sustained physical and/or psychological effort. On the other hand, job resources are elements of work that for example help to achieve work-related goals, reduce job demands and/or encourage learning, development and personal growth. (Bakker & Demerouti 2007) By affecting or modifying the demands and/or resources, the employee can affect their well-being. This is called job crafting. Job crafting is a method of job redesign, in which worker create an improved fit between the demanding factors of their jobs and themselves. Job crafting affects the well-being, as it helps to improve the balance between job demands and resources. (Slemp et al. 2015) Job crafting is an effective method to improve well-being, as it increases job resources over time (Tims et al 2013). Job crafting typically covers the modification of three elements of work: crafting job tasks (number, scope, type), interaction with others (quality, amount) and cognitive task boundaries. (Wrzesniewski & Dutton 2001) It has been found that employee well-being and job crafting are correlated (Slemp et al. 2015). Thus, the purpose of this paper is to better understand the characteristics of activity-based work environments and their potential risks and benefits. After analysing the work environment, we propose a model of job crafting in an activity based office. As the satisfaction with activity-based offices seems to be below expectations and the office concept seems to have some negative effects to health and productivity, it is reasonable to study well-being in the office type in question. Research question to be answered is what job crafting possibilities lie in activity based offices to support well-being at work?  The research methods include observation and interviews in the Finnish company Martela, in the capital area of Finland. The interviews (n=11) covered topics such as reasons to choose work settings, views of their work environment, pros and cons of the work environment, the values of the company, organisational house rules and individual work habits. The case organisation can be viewed as a successful case, as the employees seemed very happy in their ways of working and the supportive work environment.  Results of the study include a proposal of job crafting in an activity based office, leading to better occupational well-being. It also covers a comparison of job crafting and activity based working.

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