The Totem Experience: A design intervention to enhance social well-being in Flexible Offices
Examensarbete för masterexamen
de la Fuente Crespo, Elena
Riestra Nava, Illán
An increasing number of companies are adopting Activity-based Flexible Offices (AFOs) in search of greater efficiency and lower running costs. These offices differ from traditional offices in that they consist of a number of different environments with unassigned workstations from where the employees can decide to work depending on their tasks (Danielsson, 2016). The adoption of a new layout inevitably has an effect on the social dynamics at the office, which could affect the well-being at work. There is a gap in the literature about the relationship between AFOs and social well-being. The goal of this project is to research this topic through a design intervention in a flexible office, following the Empirical Research through Design Method. The project performed interviews in a flexible office to identify opportunities for a design intervention in the office of study. The analysis of those interviews prompted formulating a set of assumptions of how social well-being could be enhanced through a design intervention. After an ideation phase, an experience and a mediating tool were prototyped to be validated in the office. The result is the Totem Experience, an activity supported by a mediating tool, aiming to enhance the social scenario at the office by increasing social awareness and encouraging non-work-related conversations between all the employees, at the same time it provides a way for self-expression. The concept of Totem was tested in the office, getting generally favourable results that seem to prove the assumptions and to validate all the key goals of the intervention.
Empirical research, Flexible offices, Social interaction, Social awareness