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Literature Review On The New Work Environment

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Workplace designers have claimed that new offices and environment would be critical for better performance, innovations, and social interactions. However, proving this claim has turned to be a difficult task. Based on the Harvard Business Review issue, Weber, Magnolfi, and Lindsay (2016) have identified the corporate projects regarding the designs for Telenor, Samsung, and Google as the case studies. For instance, people have assumed the negative correlation between the frequency of communication and physical distance between workers. With the help of technology and sociometric tagging, Weber et al. (2016) have verified that existing “negative consequences distance has on a company and how it can hurt its bottom line” (45). From this case study, it is evident that employees reported a 10 percent increase in the sales because they interacted with co-workers. Despite the significance of these changes, the major concern that forms the basis of research would be: has the new workspace that has embraced wireless technologies benefited companies and how has companies’ responded to this new transformation in the workplace environment

Brief Summary

The information covered in the “workspaces that move people” highlights the features that define a good work environment. In most cases, the new office designs have prompted collision between people. Weber et al. (2016) have identified the correlation between performance, personal interactions, and innovation. The primary question that needs to be addressed is whether open spaces can increase performance and revenue. Importantly, other factors need to be considered when determining the performance of workers as explained by Lange (2011). The new science of building such teams would involve offering badges for identification. the management must be concerned about how the team members move around the office spaces, how they talk or communicate with colleagues, and find out the social nature, proximity, and density (Crouch 2011).

Every organization values successful teams that always share positive attributes. in fact, according to Cappelli and Keller (2013), the successful teams listen and talk in equal measure, connect directly, and explore outside their team environment to bring new information back. The effective teams engage in energetic conversations, face one another, and value side conversations. Without a doubt, companies should measure whether the workspace designs hurts or benefits performance. Accordingly, Weber et al. (2014) collected data based on the individual’s communications, interactions, and location. Based on their findings, face-to-face interactions appear to be the best activity in any office environment. To them, the physical interaction creates a chance for the team members to share knowledge within and without the organization leading to improved performance.


The first case study was the Telenor that incorporated hot desking. This approach helped the Norwegian telecom company to design an office space without assigned seats thus allowing the teams to configure the space for different tasks depending on the team’s needs and expectations. The Chief Executive Officer of Telenor confirmed that the new office space design has helped the company to become a competitive multinational career. The state-run monopoly is no longer acceptable in the market and its 150 million subscribers can attest to the new development. Waber et al. (2014) also collected data on a pharmaceutical company. Based on this data, Weber et al. found that salesperson increased sales by over ten percent due to increased interactions between the co-workers and salesperson.

Similarly, Weber et al. (2016) reported that when the company expanded the cafeteria, the sales rose by $200 million thus justifying the significance of capital investment relating to the redesigning of the cafeteria. Despite the benefits of redesigning the workspaces, this new strategy is against the will of many workers, especially the working habits. For instance, some workers require private space thus feels uncomfortable working in open offices (Grugulis & Stoyanova 2011). Indisputably, human beings are social in nature and they value interactions. This implies that people enjoy gossiping. To this effect, an open office design would make it difficult for human beings to practice their natural habit.

According to Weber et al. (2016), Google is considering the put its entire workforce into a single mile-long room because it has confirmed that personal interactions, innovation, and performance have correlation. It is building a cathedral in Silicon Valley to accommodate the workers. With the new technology, office buildings have failed to accommodate the knowledge work because most of the activities or tasks are done outside the office buildings. Therefore, the design of the office can no longer determine the performance of the workers if the employers fail to consider the digital work and collaboration. It confirms that immediacy is critical and its importance supersedes office space and time. To this effect, the digital workspaces have enhanced file-sharing, in-person collisions, and communication tools like archiving, email, and chat. Telenor is a living example as it upgraded its building and technology by smartly integrating digital features to enhance workforce productivity.


The New Workspace Environment

The physical workspaces have been overtaken by events. Many managers have discouraged casual interactions among their workers as explained by Fayard and Weeks (2011). Fayard and Weeks (2011) maintained that chitchat caused distractions because of noise. However, companies like Google are redesigning its floors to promote cooperation and innovation. These companies believe that the new floor culture and plans would promote interactions among the employees. Fayard and Weeks (2011) have held that the new culture is surprising and disappointing in equal measures.

Comparing the digital offices and physical offices

Reeve (2016) affirms that the physical location of an office was important in determining organizational success in the last decades. to her, accessibility to these offices was essential. Indeed, even marketers advised their employers to secure strategic locations for their firms. However, the situation has completely changed as some businesses have opted to operate digitally. These virtual offices have benefited the businesses that no longer worry about the physical locations. The new dispensation compels companies to focus on the cyberspace as the managers use technology including cell phones, laptops, and the Internet to connect with other stakeholders. Indeed, these people conduct conferences through Join.Me, Viber, Skype, and related video conferencing software. According to Reeve (2016) and Weber et al. (2016), the teams have transmitted documents to their employees or managers using Google docs and emails. The online team management software including Basecamp and Asana has enhanced digital workspace.

The affordability of digital offices is incomparable to the physical office space. Lange (2011) believes that the companies can relocate the costs of physical offices to other investments. Leasing and renting the physical spaces require massive budget. For instance, the six-month contracts expose to high operating costs. For instance, the company has to equip the office thus making the virtual office a true winner in terms of financial costs. However, for many clients, physical location is essential because it enhances credibility and trust. Companies with tangible venues can meet various stakeholders to allow them to display the firm’s products and vision. To this effect, even the companies with no physical offices are compelled to rent or hire rooms to meet their clients or business partners. Therefore, with the digital space, the virtual companies lack control on the privacy and vibe of the location (Lange 2011).

The digital workspace is flexible because it allows an individual to work from any location thus maximize the productive hours. The virtual office is more flexible than physical office as the companies can meet the expectations of clients. The commutation costs are reduced in the new workspace environment. The workers also avoid rush hour traffic as they struggle to get to their physical offices. It shows that physical offices offer less flexible working hours because some business partners can find these locations unattractive or inaccessible. Reeve (2016) has thus believed that digital offices motivate employees thus improve productivity.



The coworking spaces involve the use of shared spaces as utilized by mostly freelancers or knowledge professionals thus serving the knowledge industry. The office-renting facilities have been installed with Wi-Fi connections that promote independent professionalism as coworkers cooperate with professional peers. In fact, the professional networks have ultimately created productive workforce thus improve the knowledge economy. The coworking concept is traceable to San Francisco, where a new way of working was discovered. This new working environment ensured the employees enjoyed the freedom within the workplaces by delimiting the environment and promoting independence (Botsman & Rogers 2011). Pratt (2002) outlined the significance of a hybrid infrastructure that saw employees remain connected through technologies. Pratt (2002) noted the massive concentration of technology industries in the Silicon Valley, San Francisco.

Since the advent of the coworking, this has become an important topic because it bears a huge expectation relating to the knowledge work (Johns & Gratton 2013). The virtual work defines the coworking agenda as it embraces the digitalization of production. The trendy concept is critical in the shared economy and social innovation as explained by Botsman and Rogers (2011). Moriset (2014) collected data on the coworking movement that is transforming cities around the world including in Europe, Russia, Asia, Australia, and the United States. Moriset (2014) identified about 2,498 mapped workspaces across the world. The coworking movement characterises the openness, sustainability, community, and collaboration (Reed 2007). Lange (2011) maintained that the collective-driven approach focuses on the physical space. In another study conducted by Spinuzzi (2012), coworking was a new working model that transformed companies and knowledge economy because it embraced flexible organizational arrangements. Spinuzzi (2012) also valued hosts who organized spaces using hybrid infrastructure.

Arvidsson (2014) conducted a study that focused on the intrinsic relations between coworking and business-oriented networking practices. According to Arvidsson (2014), the coworking space got a sense of networking activity and community. The coworking spaces are possible when the professionals work in the same industry. Nevertheless, Grandini (2014) holds that the coworking is possible in microbusinesses. The flexible and small managerial entities are composed of individuals with associated brands. Therefore, organizations need to design its spaces thus favour informal interactions.


Coworking is working in the knowledge economy

In the contemporary knowledge economy, scholars have provided different interpretation for coworking spaces. The new workspace is a manifestation of a general rethinking with its roots in the highly networked and shared territory. The collaborative production is evident in where the actors embrace network-based processes of valorisation and organization. The coworking practices have proved sustainable as Moriset (2014) identifies the efforts of companies to confront the coworking bubble. The discourse concerning the regeneration and transformation of socioeconomic scenes and western urban environments has formed the basis for creative cities (Musterd & Murie 2011). Florida (2002) hold that the vision regarding coworking is in tandem with the creative class thus articulate the working across fashion, advertising, media, and related creative sectors. The expansion of coworking triggers economic development and growth.

In this economic prosperity age, workers are compelled to balance life and work thus improves creative professionalism (Florida 2002). Pratt (2008) had criticised Florida’s (2002) findings as he held that celebratory framework underestimated the social inequalities experienced in the emerging economy. The coworking spaces are being diffused to allow companies meet their unfulfilled promises relating to the creative class. Recent studies have identified the significance of the new working environment as dictated by the urban economies (Gill & Pratt, 2008; Grugulis & Stoyanova 2012).


The workspace is becoming the new front of competition among the businesses worldwide. In this era of technological innovation, office spaces are becoming irrelevant, as companies have incorporated scientific management principles into their offices thus instilling efficiency. With the new technology, workers have reduced processing paperwork. Therefore, the future workspaces would change from physical to digital. This has used data from different scholars and evidence to affirm the aggressive changes that seem to redefine the new workspaces. The future offices would see staff work beyond the offices. Coworking is a trendy concept that embraces new working spaces and collaboration. It creates a new community who network to achieve the organizational goals.



Arvidsson, A. 2014, ‘Public brands and the entrepreneurial ethics’, Ephemera, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 119-124.

Botsman, R. & Rogers, R. 2011, What’s mine is yours: how collaborative consumption is changing the way we live. Collins, New York.

Cappelli, P. & Keller, J.R. 2013, ‘Classifying work in the new economy’, The Academy of Management Review, vol. 38, no. 4, pp. 1-22.

Crouch, C. (2011) The strange non-death of neo-liberalism. Polity.

Fayard, A-L. & Weeks, J. 2011, ‘Who moved my cube?’ Harvard Business Review, Jul/Aug.  [] [website], accessed 21 April 2017.

Florida, R. (2002) The rise of the creative class. Basic Books, New York.

Gill, R.C. & Pratt, A.C. (2008) ‘In the social factory? Immaterial labour, precariousness and cultural work’, Theory, Culture and Society, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 1-30.

Grugulis, I. & Stoyanova, D. (2011) ‘The missing middle: Communities of practice in a freelance labour market’, Work, Employment and Society, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 342-351.

Grugulis, I. & Stoyanova, D. 2012 ‘Social capital and networks in film and TV: Jobs for the boys?’ Organization Studies, vol. 33, no. 10, pp. 1311-1331.

Johns, T. & Gratton, L. 2013, ‘The third wave of virtual work’, Harvard Business Review, Jan/Feb: 1-9.

Lange, B. 2011, ‘Rescaling governance in Berlin’s creative economy’, Culture Unbound, vol. 3, pp. 187-208.

Moriset, B. 2014, ‘Building new places of the creative economy. The rise of coworking spaces’, proceedings of the 2nd Geography of Innovation, International Conference 2014, Utrecht University, Utrecht (The Netherlands).

Musterd, S. & Murie, A. (Eds.). 2011, Making competitive cities. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.

Pratt, A. 2008, ‘Creative cities: the cultural industries and the creative class’, Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, vol. 90, no. 2, pp. 107-117.

Pratt, A.C. 2002, ‘Hot jobs in cool places: the material cultures of new media product spaces: the case of South of the Market, San Francisco’, Information, Communication and Society, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 27-50.

Reed, B. 2007, ‘Co-working: the ultimate in teleworking flexibility’, Network World. [] [website], accessed 21 April 2017.

Reeves, G. 2016, ‘Comparative analysis between digital offices and traditional office spaces’, Propel, Dec 6. [] [website], accessed 21 April 2017.

Spinuzzi, C. 2012, ‘Working alone together: coworking as emergent collaborative activity’, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 399-441.

Waber, B., Magnolfi, J., & Lindsay, G. 2016, Workspaces that move people. In W. Lazonick, The definitive management ideas of the year from Harvard Business Review (pp.139-151). Harvard Business Review Press, Boston, Mass.

Waber, B., Magnolfi, J., Lindsay, G. 2014, ‘Workspaces that move people’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 92, no. 10, pp. 68-77.


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