The adoption of modern office workspaces by tertiary education institutes : a case study of Unitec

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Vitasovich, A.
Kiroff, Lydia
Boon, John
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Conference Contribution - Paper in Published Proceedings
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
activity based working (ABW)
workplace design
collaborative spaces
workspaces for academics
organisational change
Unitec Institute of Technology
shared workspaces
Vitasovich, A., Kiroff, L., & Boon, J. (2016, July). The adoption of modern office workspaces by tertiary education institutes: A case study of Unitec. In N. Singhaputtangkul (Ed.), The 40th Australasian Universities Building Education Association (AUBEA) Conference (pp.797-807).
Modern office workspaces, and particularly activity-based workspaces (ABW) are emerging in the education sector. The primary reasons for making changes to workspaces vary from institute to institute. Yet, there is limited research on the objectives, the overall value of making these changes, the strategic plans used, the types of workspaces being implemented and the issues faced by higher education institutes, which can potentially affect their users and their associated work practices. Semi-structured in-depth interviews within a case study approach were carried out with three groups of participants: staff that have had previous experience in new types of workspaces, staff that have not worked in such environments, and institutional key decision-makers. Field observations and a review of supporting documentation complemented the interviews. The findings indicate that there are wide-ranging organisational changes occurring within Unitec, and not just simple changes to existing workspaces with the aim of increasing collaboration, reducing facility costs and creating sector alignment. Additionally, ABW are being implemented throughout the organisation based on prototype office spaces in one campus building heavily influenced by commercial workspace design. However, higher academic work practices make unique demands potentially creating tension between the aims of the institution for increased collaboration and interaction and established work patterns. The inclusion of more private quiet spaces is suggested by the interviewees to help staff adapt to these new ways of working. Furthermore, keeping the lines of communication open and regularly updating all staff on the redevelopment of the new workspaces ensures an overall smoother transition.
UTS ePRESS (University of Technology Sydney)
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UTS ePRESS (University of Technology Sydney, ePress)
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