Space for thought: designing for knowledge workers

Space for thought: designing for knowledge workers Purpose – Generic use of the term “knowledge worker” has resulted in a generic approach to designing office environments for this group. The purpose of this paper is to probe the mobility patterns and motivations of knowledge workers in order to provide a classification of different types of knowledge worker. Design/methodology/approach – The study was undertaken using a range of qualitative research methods including semi‐structured interviews with 20 knowledge workers representing different levels of mobility and experience, ethnographic studies in a media company, real estate business and a public relations firm, and a user workshop. A novel drawing exercise was introduced to elicit responses during the interview process. Findings – Four knowledge worker “character types” emerged from the research: the Anchor and the Connector, who are mainly office‐based, and the Gatherer and the Navigator, who work more widely afield. Research limitations/implications – This is a small study revealing characteristics particular to the participating individuals and organisations. However, it has wider implications in that the more complex set of requirements revealed by the project requires a more responsive and service‐led approach to office design for knowledge workers and the development of new protocols of use within office space. Originality/value – The originality/value lies in giving designers and facilities managers an insight into the different needs of knowledge workers, who are commonly treated as a homogeneous group. The typologies are an active tool for better brief‐making in design for creative facilities. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Facilities Emerald Publishing

Space for thought: designing for knowledge workers

Facilities, Volume 29 (1/2): 12 – Feb 1, 2011

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0263-2772
D.O.I.
10.1108/02632771111101304
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Generic use of the term “knowledge worker” has resulted in a generic approach to designing office environments for this group. The purpose of this paper is to probe the mobility patterns and motivations of knowledge workers in order to provide a classification of different types of knowledge worker. Design/methodology/approach – The study was undertaken using a range of qualitative research methods including semi‐structured interviews with 20 knowledge workers representing different levels of mobility and experience, ethnographic studies in a media company, real estate business and a public relations firm, and a user workshop. A novel drawing exercise was introduced to elicit responses during the interview process. Findings – Four knowledge worker “character types” emerged from the research: the Anchor and the Connector, who are mainly office‐based, and the Gatherer and the Navigator, who work more widely afield. Research limitations/implications – This is a small study revealing characteristics particular to the participating individuals and organisations. However, it has wider implications in that the more complex set of requirements revealed by the project requires a more responsive and service‐led approach to office design for knowledge workers and the development of new protocols of use within office space. Originality/value – The originality/value lies in giving designers and facilities managers an insight into the different needs of knowledge workers, who are commonly treated as a homogeneous group. The typologies are an active tool for better brief‐making in design for creative facilities.

Journal

FacilitiesEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 1, 2011

Keywords: Design; Productivity rate

References

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