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[answered] A critique is not a summary or a simple retelling of the ma


Critically evaluate the statistical analysis of the attached article. A critique is not a summary or a simple retelling of the major findings in a research article. It is more than that and the result should make the difference between believing the research results and using them or not believing the research results and not using them. The critique should critically review ( not summarize ) ?the attached article.

The paper should be three to four pages not including the title page. The critique should contain a title page, introduction, supporting paragraphs, and conclusion.


5075 Work 41 (2012) 5075-5080

 

DOI: 10.3233/WOR-2012-0800-5075

 

IOS Press New ways of working: does flexibility in

 

time and location of work change work

 

behavior and affect business outcomes?

 

Merle M. Bloka,*, Liesbeth Groenesteijna,b, Roos Schelvisa and Peter Vinka,b

 

a, TNO, P.O. Box 718, 2130 AS Hoofddorp, The Netherlands.

 

Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628 CE Delft,

 

The Netherlands. b Abstract. In the changing modern economy some new factors have been addressed that are of importance for productivity and

 

economic growth, such as human skills, workplace organization, information and communication technologies (ICT) and

 

knowledge sharing. An increasing number of companies and organizations are implementing measures to better address these

 

factors, often referred to as ?the New Ways of Working (NWW)?. This consists of a large variety of measures that enable flexibility in the time and location of work. Expectations of these measures are often high, such as a reduction in operating costs

 

and an increase of productivity. However, scientific proof is still lacking, and it is worth asking whether al these implementations actually cause a change in work behavior and effect business outcomes positively. This article describes a case study of

 

three departments (total of 73 employees) that changed from a traditional way of working towards a new way of working.

 

Questionnaires and a new developed objective measurement system called ?work@task? were used to measure changes in work

 

behavior (i.e. increased variation in work location, work times and a change towards NWW management style) and the effect

 

on business objectives such as knowledge sharing, employees satisfaction, and collaboration.

 

Keywords: new ways of working, task facilitating office, knowledge worker, work behavior, business objectives 1. Introduction

 

The modern economy is changing from agriculture

 

and industrial manufacturing to a service and knowledge driven economy. Knowledge is recognized as

 

the driver of productivity and economic growth, and

 

statistics form the OECD studies show that the number of employees working for knowledge- intensive

 

service sector is increasing [6]. Knowledge work is

 

supported by a revolution in new ICT applications

 

and communication networks. These innovations has

 

changed our perceptions on work and made it possible to work at any location at any time [5]. The proliferating use of information has long been seen as

 

?the? aspect that would bring us higher productivity

 

and better business outcomes. However aspects such

 

as human talent can be seen of even greater importance, since that makes it possible to share knowledge, adapt and innovate [1]. It is therefore argued that employees, especially knowledge workers, should be

 

more empowered to work more efficiently and effectively [4]. This empowerment implies offering the

 

employees more self control and freedom by introducing flexible work arrangements. This transformation is often referred to as ?the New Ways of Working? (NWW) and consist of changes that take place at

 

four aspects:1) the physical workspace, 2) (ICT)

 

technology, 3) organization & management and 4)

 

work culture. The physical workspaces refers to

 

NWW measures that increasing the flexibility where

 

and when to work by introducing flexible work hours,

 

telework and creating flexible workplaces at the office that better suits the work task. Introducing ICT

 

technologies implies that employees are supported

 

with technologies that allows them to be connected

 

and able to collaboration always and everywhere. The * Corresponding author: Merle Blok. E-mail: merle.blok@tno.nl. 1051-9815/12/$27.50 ? 2012 ? IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved 5076 M.M. Blok et al. / Does Flexibility in Time and Location of Work Change Work Behavior and Affect Business Outcomes? third NWW aspect: ?organization and management?

 

is important since managing employees might become a big challenge when it is not longer visible

 

were, when and what employees are working on. It is

 

therefor important that managers have trust in there

 

employees, focus more on output instead of presence

 

at the office, and provide them with more autonomy

 

by stimulating own initiative. Changes in work culture implies that an open culture, with focus on information sharing and collaboration in networks is

 

created.

 

Many organizations see potential opportunities in

 

the transition to the NWW and the number of organizations that have implemented a form of NWW is

 

rapidly increasing. This is not only in order to enhance productivity growth, but is also seen as a necessary preparation for the upcoming societal issues.

 

Attracting skilled professionals will get more difficult,

 

since we are facing a demographic shift in aging

 

populations. And there is an increase in road traffic,

 

causing serious traffic infarcts and a loss in productive work time. The NWW measures not only offer

 

differentiation in starting and ending time of work, it

 

also offers the possibility to work from any other

 

remote location. The Telework Trendlines 2009 [7]

 

reported that the number of U.S. employees who

 

worked remotely at least one day per month increased

 

39% in two years from approximately 12.4 million in

 

2006 to 17.2 million in 2008.

 

Working from remote locations affect the purpose

 

of the office building, making it less important for the

 

performance of individual work tasks, and more important for work activities such as collaboration, faceto-face meetings and knowledge sharing [2]. To better suit these work activities, a growing number of

 

organization lower the total amount of office building

 

space, and task facilitating offices. This often consists

 

of transparent offices including a large variety of

 

shared workplaces, such as meeting rooms, project

 

places, lounge corners and concentration arias [3].

 

Although the expectations of the NWW measures

 

are often high, scientific proof is still lacking. It is

 

important to know more about the effects to provide

 

organizations with a better understanding and (at

 

forehand) insight in the effects of their NWW investment or policy decisions regarding the implementation. It is still unknown how implementations of

 

NWW measures affect work behavior, in means of

 

where and when the employees work, and how this

 

relates to business objectives such as increased productivity by improvements in collaboration, knowledge sharing and employee satisfaction. In this paper a case study is presented of a Dutch

 

organization with a pilot group consisting of three

 

departments that changed from a traditional way of

 

working towards a new way of working. The changes

 

includes a new flexible office layout were workplaces

 

are shared, introduction of social ICT and the ability

 

to work from home or any other remote location at

 

flexible work hours. Their objective was to increase

 

collaboration, knowledge sharing and employees satisfaction, and thereby enhance the productivity of the

 

employees, while at the same time reducing cost by

 

decreasing the amount of total office space used. The

 

effects on work behavior and on the aimed business

 

objectives are monitored every half year for four

 

times in total. A questionnaire and a new developed

 

objective measuring method called ?work@task? to

 

monitor changes in work location are used. The results from the first two measures will be presented in

 

this paper. This article is aimed to provide an answer

 

to the research question: ?What are the effects of new

 

ways of working in a task facilitating office on work

 

behavior, and does this positively effect collaboration,

 

employee satisfaction and knowledge sharing? 2. Method

 

A group of 73 employees from three different departments participated in this study. All participants

 

moved from a traditional work environment where

 

each department had his own work space, to one

 

shared work area consisting of a large variety of different shared workspaces such as brainstorm area?s,

 

meeting rooms, silent open workspaces and project

 

places. Digital smart boards were introduced to support project work, as well as laptops, cellphones, and

 

access to the business network in order to enable employees to work everywhere throughout the department.

 

2.1. Questionnaire

 

A web based internet questionnaire was developed

 

and carried out twice, once while implementing the

 

new ways of working (M1), and one six months later

 

in the new office environment (M2). All employees

 

of the three different departments participated in the

 

study. The questionnaire was conducted in order to

 

measure NWW awareness, change in work behavior

 

and the effects on business outcomes. Questions on

 

change in behavior consisted of questions on flexibility in work location and workplace, and if a NWW M.M. Blok et al. / Does Flexibility in Time and Location of Work Change Work Behavior and Affect Business Outcomes? management style was created in the new work environment. Since the first measure (M1) was conducted

 

while at the same time the implementation of the new

 

way of work was implemented, the questionnaire

 

consisted of some questions to retrieved information

 

of the actual stage of the three differed departments,

 

such as habitation to the new flexible work environment.

 

Questions on NWW management style consisted

 

of items measuring the degree to which managers

 

behaved as a NWW role model, if they listened and

 

showing interest in the work of the employees, and

 

questions on the focus and agreements on results, the

 

feasibility of the results and whether the employees

 

perceived enough autonomy

 

2.2. Work@task

 

In the new work environment the participant had

 

greater flexibility in the timing and location of work.

 

It was therefore assumed that employees would more

 

frequently change workplaces and work location (at

 

the office, at home, while traveling or at the client

 

office). In order to measure actual behavioral changes

 

in work place and location a ?work@task? system

 

was developed and tested. The method consists of an

 

automatic short message services, were texts massages were send to the business cellphones of sixty

 

employees five times a day at standardized moments

 

in time for a period of two weeks. The employees

 

were asked to respond immediately to each text message with a message code that described their workplace, work location and the task they were performing. In order to make the response as less time consuming as possible, response codes were formulated

 

and profited to the employees at small pocketsize

 

plastic cards (see figure 1) and the workplaces at the

 

office were labeled with code numbers. The

 

work@task measurement was conducted in the new

 

office situation only and corresponded in time with

 

the second questionnaire measure (M2). 5077 Work@task Codes for short message service

 

For example O1IC

 

Location

 

O# = Office + workplace number

 

OD = Office, working at a different department

 

OL = Working at a different office location

 

H = Home

 

T = Traveling

 

WE = Working extern (at client office)

 

How?

 

I = individual

 

T1 = working together at one location

 

T2 = working together at two locations

 

G1 = group work at one location

 

G2 = group work at two or more locations

 

What?

 

C = concentration task

 

R = routine task

 

F = formal meeting

 

IF = informal meeting

 

P = Phone call

 

B = Break

 

N = Not working

 

Figure 1.Work@task codes that were used in the short

 

massage service. 3. Results

 

All 73 employees of the three departments received

 

the first online questionnaire (M1) and half a year

 

later 60 of them received the second questionnaire

 

(M2). In total 58 participants (average age 45; 59%

 

male) filled out the first questionnaire, while 52 employees (average age 44; 53% male) responded to the

 

second questionnaire. A total of 39 participants filled

 

out both questionnaires. The job functions of the subjects existed of either manager, project manager, project support or advisor.

 

3.1. Implementation awareness of NWW measures 2.3. Statistics

 

Descriptive statistics were used to describe the results from the questionnaire and work@task. Withinsubject t-test analysis (p<0.05) was used on the questionnaire data of participants that participated in both

 

the M1 and M2 questionnaire only, in order to detect

 

significant effects of NWW on collaboration, employees satisfaction and knowledge sharing. Questionnaire data on the status of implementation of

 

the new ways of working and the habituation to the

 

new flexible work layout showed that none of the

 

participants were fully habituated to the new flexible

 

work layout, and a part of the participants (28%)

 

were still working at the traditional office at the time

 

the first questionnaire was filled out (M1). Half year

 

later, at the time the second questionnaire (M2) was 5078 M.M. Blok et al. / Does Flexibility in Time and Location of Work Change Work Behavior and Affect Business Outcomes? filled out all participants were working at the flexible

 

work layout. More than half (54%) of the participants

 

were entirely habituated and 30% was habituated

 

somewhat. A total of 16% stated that they were not

 

yet habituated to the new flexible work layout.

 

In figure 2 the results are shown for differed statements that were addressed in the questionnaire on the

 

possibility to work flexible. The results show an increase over time between M1 and M2 in the experienced possibility to work at flexible work hours at the

 

office, the availability of sufficient ICT facilities and

 

access to business networks from home or other remote work locations. These results indicate that the

 

participant were aware of the new possibilities that

 

were created by introducing the new way of working. Figure 2. The ability to work flexible in time and the accessibility

 

and sufficient ICT facilities to work from remote locations at Figure 3. The average score on question items measuring NWW

 

management style M1n=48, M2n =48. 3.2. Changes in flexible work behavior

 

In order to investigate whether the actual implementation of NWW measures actually caused a change in

 

work behavior the participants were asked where they

 

performed their work tasks. The results in figure 4

 

show that there were no big changes in amount of

 

working hours spend on different work locations.

 

Working at home increased from 4.5 hours per week

 

at M1 to 5.5 hours at M2, which was not as much as

 

was expected, since at M2 working from home was

 

officially enabled. The biggest increase was seen for

 

working at the client office which increased from 5.8

 

hours per week to 7.4 hours per week. measurement M1 (n= 57) and M2 (n=50) Besides changes in physical workspace and (ICT)

 

technology, implementations of the NWW also implies changes in organization & management and a

 

change towards a suitable work culture. The results

 

on NWW management style items of M1 and M2

 

(see figure 3) show that the overall score on NWW

 

role model and the focus on results improved overtime, although there is still a large percentage of employees that did not experience the manager as a

 

NWW role model (31%) with forces on results (15%).

 

The other aspects of the NWW management style

 

aspect show a decrease over time. Figure 4. The number of hours per week worked at different locations, at measurement M1 (n= 57) and M2 (n=50). The results from work@task (see figure 5) show that

 

60% of the work time was spend at the office building, of which 40% of the working time was spend at

 

the flexible work layout. A total of 18% of the working time was spend at home, an another 13% was

 

spend teleworking extern at the client office. M.M. Blok et al. / Does Flexibility in Time and Location of Work Change Work Behavior and Affect Business Outcomes? 5079 a scale from 1 ?very low? to 7 ?very high?. Results did

 

not show any change between M1 and M2 for collaboration and employees? satisfaction and the suitability of the environment to perform the work tasks,

 

while knowledge sharing was decreased significantly

 

(see Fig. 7). Figure 5. The number of hours per week worked at different locations, at measurement M1 (n= 57) and M2 (n=50) At the traditional office the employees had owned

 

workstations, and did not have a variety of different

 

workplaces except for meeting rooms and coffee corners. The new flexible office layout did offer a wide

 

variety of different workspaces (M2). In the

 

work@task measurement the percentage of work

 

time spend at each workplace was measured for M2

 

(see figure 6). The workplaces at the open area (a

 

total of 31 workplaces), were used for 61% or the

 

time. The three meeting rooms and team rooms were

 

used 13% of the time, followed by meeting/lounge

 

rooms. The phone booths were only used 1% of the

 

time. Figure 6. The average number of hours spend at different workplaces at the office for M2 (n=49), # number of workspaces. 3.3. Effect on business outcomes

 

So far, the results have shown that the employees did

 

experience an increase in possibilities to work flexible in time and location and a small change in behavior caused by these increased flexibilities was visible.

 

Results on the business objectives were measured on Figure 7. Average scores for M1 and M2 on scale from 1 to 7 (1 =

 

very low, 7 = very high). 4. Discussion

 

In this research study it was investigated whether the

 

introduction of new way of working measures caused

 

changes in work behavior, leading to positive effects

 

on business objectives. The results of this study

 

showed that the participants were aware of the increased possibility to work at different locations, and

 

they experienced an increase in availability of ICT

 

facilities and better remote access to business networks. It is interesting to see that even after halve a

 

year still not all of the employees were habituated.

 

Results on the implementation of a NWW

 

management style did not show overall positive results. Four out of six questionnaire items on NWW

 

management style showed a decrease over time. This

 

is a interesting result, since it was expected that the

 

NWW management style was implemented and

 

therefor the experienced NWW management style

 

would improve. It was certainly not expected that it

 

would decrease. This result might indicate that when

 

NWW is introduced the importance of a NWW management style is of greater importance, which might

 

created increased awareness of the absence of NWW

 

management style resulting in lower scores.

 

As mentioned before, NWW consist of changes that 5080 M.M. Blok et al. / Does Flexibility in Time and Location of Work Change Work Behavior and Affect Business Outcomes? take place at four aspects, the physical workspace,

 

(ICT) technology, organization & management and

 

work culture. From the results we might conclude

 

that at least two out of four NWW aspects (i.e. physical workspace and ICT technologies) were successfully implemented. The implementation of management style was not conducted successfully yet, and

 

should be given more priority. Changing the organizational culture might be of greater effort and take

 

up more time. It will be interesting to see if improvements are seen at a later stage in the third or

 

fourth measure.

 

Studying the results on change in behavior,

 

some indications are found for the hypothesis that

 

implementing NWW measures changes the work

 

behavior. For instance, more different work locations

 

and workplaces throughout the office were used. It is

 

expected that there will be a greater change in work

 

behavior when all four NWW aspects are implemented successfully.

 

Not finding any improvements in the business objectives can have at least two important reasons. First of all it can be explained by the fact that

 

not all four aspects of NWW are implemented well

 

enough to cause a significant change in work behavior, and therefore the business objective are not affected. Second of all it is possible that although expected by NWW believers, the NWW measures do

 

not affect of improve the selected business objectives.

 

The NWW might increase ad hoc interaction and

 

communication of colleagues, but this does not imply

 

improvements in knowledge sharing or collaboration

 

Even if knowledge sharing and collaboration at the

 

office itself improves, this might be counteracted by

 

the fact that more time is spend working at home or

 

at other remote locations where less ad hoc interaction and communication has takes place.

 

This case study provides us with some interesting insights in some of the effects of the NWW

 

measures. It is difficulty to set up a good research

 

study to measure the effects of the NWW since in

 

reality it is difficult to isolate the effects of NWW in

 

organizations, and other changes that might affect the

 

results as well are often taking place as well. In order

 

to gain good inside in the effect of NWW intervention it is important to measure the situation some time

 

before the implementation takes place and a period of

 

time after, when al the short term effects caused by

 

the change toward the NWW measures has disappeared. Unfortunately in this study at the moment of the M1 measure the implementation was already partly started and some of the employees had already

 

moved to the new flexible office layout a few days

 

prior to the measure. Even so, it was not expected

 

that the recent movement did cause an immediate

 

change in business objectives and it is expected that

 

when employees get more habituated to the flexible

 

work environment it will have a positive effect on

 

knowledge sharing, collaboration, satisfaction and

 

experienced suitability of the work environment.

 

Further research on this topic will be done,

 

since two other measures will be performed. It will be

 

interesting to see whether all four NWW aspects will

 

be further implemented successfully. And if the behavior of the employees will change towards a more

 

flexible work behavior such as a further increase in

 

hours worked at home or remote, changes in work

 

time and more flexibility in the use of different

 

workplaces at the office. It will then be possible to

 

see if a further increase in work behavior will significantly improve the business objectives. References

 

[1] S. Aravaniti and E.N. Loukis, ICT, human capital, workplace

 

organization and labour productivity: A comparative study

 

based on firm-level data for Greece and Switzerland, Information, Economics and Policy 21, 2009, pp. 43-61.

 

[2] M. Blok, E. de Korte., L. Groenesteijn, M. Formanoy, P. Vink,

 

The effects of a task facilitating working environment on office space use, communication, concentration, collaboration,

 

privacy and distraction. Proceedings of the 17th World Congress on Ergonomics, Bejing, 2009.

 

[3] E.M. de Croon, J.K. Sluiter, P.P.F.M. Kuijer, and M.H.W.

 

Frings-Dresen, The effect of office concepts on worker health

 

and performance: a systematic review of the literature, Ergonomics, 48: 2, 2005, pp. 119-34.

 

[4] C. Ichniowski, T.A. Kochan, D.I. Levine, C. Olson, G. Strauss,

 

What works at work: overview and assessment. In: Ichniowski,

 

C., Levine, D.I., Olson, C., Strauss, G. (Eds.), The American

 

Workplace. Skills compensation and Employee Involvement.

 

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000 pp. 1?37.

 

[5] S.Y. Lee, J.L. Brand, Effects of control over office workspace

 

on perceptions of the work environment and work outcomes,

 

Journal of Environmental Psychology, 25, 2005, pp.323?333.

 

[6] OECD, Organization for economic co-operation and development.. The knowledge-based economy. General distribution

 

OCDE//GD(96)102, 1996.

 

[7] WorldatWork Research. Flexible Work Arrangements for

 

Nonexempt Employees, 2009. WorldatWork Telework trendlines (2009),

 

http://www.workingfromanywhere.org/news/Trendlines_2009.

 

pdf. Copyright of Work is the property of IOS Press and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or

 

posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print,

 

download, or email articles for individual use.

 


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