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Applying What Scientists Know about Where and How People Work Best


Houston — Jan. 22, 2015 — The International Facility Management Association’s (IFMA) Workplace Evolutionaries (WE) and the IFMA Foundation present a definitive workplace strategy guide, “Applying What Scientists Know About WHERE and HOW People Work Best” by Dr. Sally Augustin.

Workplace strategies are a frequent topic of lively debates rooted in strong opinions. This comprehensive repository of research organizes the tremendous body of empirical study that has been conducted in the social and physical sciences that is applicable to workplace managers and designers.

“Workplace strategies are often presented in simple black and white,” said IFMA Foundation Chair Diane Coles-Levine. “For example, which is better, open office layouts or private offices? For facility management professionals, the answers to these questions should almost always be ‘It depends.’ What are you hoping to achieve? What is your work culture like? How do your people work?

"Using the built environment as a tool to achieve specific goals has been the subject of a great deal of academic and professional research. This guide is a roadmap to help answer the only question that really matters: What workplace strategy is right for my organization?”

The more than 50-page report includes relevant excerpts from studies, reports, and articles that facility management professionals can easily reference. Full bibliographical information is included for each excerpt. For example:

Research indicates that people think more creatively when ceilings are 10 feet high than when they are 8 feet tall.

Joan Meyers-Levy and Rui Zhu. 2007. “The Influence of Ceiling Height: The Effect of Priming on the Type of Processing People Use.” Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 174-186.

• People are significantly more like to collaborate when there is a 100-foot increase in the overlap of their functional paths. Functional paths are the routes people travel at their workplace, getting their job done. A press release related to this project indicates that the increase in collaboration was 20 percent for each 100-foot increase.

Felichism Kabo, Yongha Hwang, Margaret Levenstein and Jason Owen-Smith. “Shared Paths to the Lab: A Sociospatial Network Analysis of Collaboration.” Environment and Behavior, in press. Find an abstract here.

The full report is available for download in the IFMA bookstore, online here.

The report was published with support from Nancy Johnson-Sanquist, IFMA Foundation Knowledge Management Committee chair, WE senior adviser, and IFMA Research Committee member, and the sponsorship of the IFMA Corporate Facilities Council and Kimball Office. Without their financial support this publication would not have been possible.

IFMA is the world's largest and most widely recognized international association for facility management professionals, supporting 24,000 members in 93 countries.

Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »   posted on: 1/30/2015

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