Policies in Activity-based Flexible Offices -‘I am sloppy with clean-desking. We don’t really know the rules.’
Journal article, 2019

Activity-based Flexible Offices (A-FOs) are offices with unassigned desks that provide a variety of workspaces. This paper presents desk-sharing and speech rules identified in A-FOs in four Swedish organisations, the emergence of and compliance with these rules, and their consequences for work conditions. Data collection involved 105 semi-structured interviews, document analyses, and observations. The identified rules were: (1) to remove belongings, (2) temporal restrictions on using the same workstations, (3) temporal restrictions on using scarce zones, (4) restrictions on verbal interactions, and (5) restrictions on phone conversations. The cases with extensive user involvement in their planning process had explicit unambiguous rules. A better compliance with rules occurred when (i) the employees were well-prepared and had a unified understanding regarding how and why to follow the rules, (ii) the rules were explicitly communicated and were regarded as easy to follow, and (iii) following the rules facilitated work and improved work conditions.


codes of conduct

work conditions

planning process

desk-sharing and speech policies


Maral Babapour Chafi

Chalmers, Industrial and Materials Science, Design and Human Factors

Linda Rolfö

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)


0014-0139 (ISSN) 1366-5847 (eISSN)

Vol. 62 1 1-20

Subject Categories

Work Sciences

Communication Studies

Information Systemes, Social aspects

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)





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