Detecting Emerging Activity-Based Working Traits through Wearable Technology

13 Sep 2017

A recent trend in corporate real-estate is Activity-Based Working (ABW). The ABW concept removes designated desks but o ers di erent work settings designed to support typical work activities. In this context there is still a need for objective data to understand the implications of these design decisions. We aim to contribute by using automated data collection to study how ABW’s principles impact o ce usage and dynamics. To this aim we analyse team dynamics and employees’ tie strength in relation to space usage and organisational hierarchy using data collected with wearable devices in a company adopting ABW principles. Our ndings show that the o ce fosters interactions across team boundaries and among the lower levels of the hierarchy suggesting a strong lateral communication. Employees also tend to have low space exploration on a daily basis which is instead more prevalent during an average week and strong social clusters seem to be resisting the ABW principles of space dynamics. With the availability of two additional data sets about social encounters in traditional o ces we highlight traits emerging from the application of ABW’s principles. In particular, we observe how the absence of designated desks might be responsible for more rapid dynamics inside the o ce. In more general terms, this work opens the door to new and scalable technology-based methodologies to study dynamic o ce usage and social interactions.