Activity Based Pros and Cons - FMLink (2023)

von Iris de Been, Marion Beijer, Dorieke den Hollander —Originally posted on FMWorld on Sep 21, 2015—New developments in office environments are generally based on the expectation that the environment will be more efficient and productivity will increase.

Another goal frequently mentioned by Dutch employers is the desire to be an attractive proposition for future employees. Organizations fear that, without a popular and competitive work environment, they may lose the “War on Talent” (Rieck & Kelter, 2005). Furthermore, research shows that offices affect job satisfaction and productivity (Carlopio, 1996; Veitch et al., 2003).

Many European organizations have already adopted ideas for flexible and dynamic offices: the Netherlands has seen many so-called 'activity-based' office concepts (also known as flexible or mixed offices).

A key principle of activity-based offices is that users can choose the type of workspace that best fits their activity. Therefore, activity-based offices typically offer a wide variety of types of open, semi-open and closed workspaces, along with spaces intended for informal and formal meetings.

In this sense, the activities office is similar to the open office: both offer openness and transparency. Unlike the open office, however, the activity-based office is characterized by offering open and closed workplaces and by omitting permanent workplaces: all available workplaces are shared by all employees.

Activity-based office managers often employ a clean desk policy to ensure that sufficient workspaces are available at all times. Employees are expected to clear their desks if they plan to be away for more than a few hours.

The purpose of this survey was to find out what users found good and bad about activity-based offices and to identify actions that FMs can take to solve problems in existing or future activity-based offices.

the positive

The most cited positive aspects were the architecture and interior design, and the majority liked how these elements contribute to create a warm and comfortable environment. The work environment was also perceived as cleaner and more organized compared to more traditional work environments. People also appreciated the great amount of light, the use of transparent materials and the overall open design of the building.

People also experienced more communication and knowledge sharing in general. Casual encounters with colleagues and greater interaction between different departments were also mentioned.

The openness of the work environment was specifically mentioned as a positive, and people found it easier to see and meet new employees. This, according to some employees, creates a more dynamic atmosphere.

Furniture is another factor regularly cited as a differentiator. The furniture design was particularly appreciated, and employees also appreciated the use of acoustic materials in the work environment to reduce noise.

die negative

Several significant negative aspects emerged from the group interviews with employees. From this it was clear that the main disadvantage of the activity-based office environment was the lack of opportunities to focus. Some of the respondents expressly criticized the acoustics. Some felt that the more open workspaces were uncomfortably crowded; others reported being distracted by noise and other people moving around.

Another perceived drawback was the lack of privacy. Many participants disliked confidential conversations or phone calls in an open space because they were often afraid of disturbing others. Lack of privacy protection was also an issue for some employees. This is especially true for smaller meeting rooms where confidential conversations must take place.

The climate in the room turned out to be a big drawback: most people complained about the temperature or the unpleasant air flow. In some cases, concerns have also been raised about poor indoor climate in closed rooms. This was related to the lack of personal control over the indoor climate, as people had to share space.

The necessary combination of jobs was mentioned as a positive, but also more often as a negative. One of the main reasons for the many complaints is that some types of workplaces are very popular. Those who are late for the office often do not have the opportunity to choose the most suitable workplace for their work. Less popular areas are barely used, so people think this is a waste of valuable space.

In more than half of the survey cases, support facilities were considered a disadvantage (15 cases, 32 interviews) and cumbersome and inflexible IT systems reduced staff flexibility. Transporting personal belongings and files from one location to another was also considered time-consuming.

Respondents also said that not everyone changes jobs during the day or even during the week, despite the "flexible" intent of the activity-based idea. This problem was also reflected in comments about undesirable "complaining behavior" by executives. Annoying behavior among colleagues was considered difficult to deal with and there were complaints about having to actively look for a job; for these people it is simply not practical to have some functions work flexibly.

Lack of social interaction with peers was cited as a major problem; Many said they couldn't have face-to-face conversations with colleagues because of the candor. People also complained about less knowledge sharing and less social ties with colleagues.

Storage and archiving options were also identified as shortcomings. The transition to a digital archive has not always been smooth, and in some organizations difficulties persist even after the move to the activity-based office.

But despite these issues, the more time people spend in an activity-based office, the more fun they have.


Workers generally enjoy the generally cool, bright, and colorful environments created by activity-based offices.

But the general increase in knowledge sharing and social interaction, evidence consistent with other literature in the field, could perhaps be seen as a double-edged sword. People also report a decrease in communication with their direct colleagues, as well as difficulties in discussing private matters in an open space. The social bond with peers also seems to suffer.

One explanation is that the openness of the work environment makes it more difficult to share thoughts, feelings, and values ​​(Oldham & Brass, 1979). Thus, the solution of these problems may depend on mutual agreements on the availability and "location" of workers in the office and on the introduction of team building measures.

Unsurprisingly, there were low satisfaction scores when it came to jobs that required concentration and privacy. Distractions mostly come in the form of phone calls and conversations in open spaces. Phone call-only locked rooms help solve this common problem, and the same goes for ad hoc meetings, which need to be held in special meeting areas or locked rooms nearby. Confidential meetings should be held in breakout rooms and enclosed spaces with acoustic and visual privacy. Behavior also plays an important role; Once the appropriate spaces have been provided, employees should be encouraged to use those specific spaces in the correct way (eg no phone calls in open spaces).

And while workers will undoubtedly appreciate the different types of workspaces an activity-based office provides, the right space isn't always available to those who want it, when they want it. Because some jobs tend to be more popular than others, they get crowded (or because people don't clean their desks).

These issues require a more thorough initial review before configuring workspace types to ensure that a variety of workspaces are provided according to the work performed by employees.

All these advantages and disadvantages are influenced by the behavior of building users. When people use activity-based workspaces properly, they tend to benefit from all of its different elements. The role model function of managers plays a central role in this. Clear rules for using the work environment can help people deal with behavioral issues among co-workers.

And while these interviews mostly confirmed much of the existing knowledge, the results took us a step further, explaining both the positives and negatives that arise in work-based offices.


  • In this study, the results of 20 follow-up evaluations were analyzed.
  • The case studies consisted of an online assessment after one or more group interviews.
  • The SOPs were conducted using the Work Environment Diagnostic Tool (WODI) developed by the Center for People and Buildings to obtain information on perceived strengths and weaknesses.
  • Assessments were carried out in 20 work-related workplaces in four semi-public organizations in the Netherlands.
  • Steps have been taken to collect generic data on the experience of the office environment and provide guidance to organizations on how to optimize the office layout.
  • The working population in these cases ranged from 31 to 806 employees and had an average of 256.
  • Of the 5,128 building occupants in the 20 cases invited to participate, 2,377 responded.
  • To obtain information about aspects of the questionnaire results, qualitative data were collected in semi-structured group interviews.
  • 57 group interviews were conducted with 271 workers to explain the results of the corresponding post-occupation assessment using the WODI questionnaire.

About the authorsIris de Been, Marion Beijer and Dorieke den Hollander are researchers at the Center for People and Buildings at Delft University of Technology. This research was first presented at the 2015 EFMC conference in Glasgow.
- Lower:

About the authorsIris de Been, Marion Beijer and Dorieke den Hollander are researchers at the Center for People and Buildings at Delft University of Technology. This research was first presented at the 2015 EFMC conference in Glasgow.
- Lower:


What are the disadvantages of activity based working? ›

Con: Upfront costs. Activity-based working is an investment. In the long run, you increase productivity and could even reduce your occupancy costs. But in the short run, it comes with some initial costs as you reconfigure your workplace.

What are the benefits of activity based work? ›

What are the benefits of activity based working? Benefits of activity-based working include a more efficient use of office space, more communication and knowledge exchange, better recruitment and retention numbers, and fewer costs.

What is the importance of facilities planning and HFE? ›

The goal of facility planning is to not only recognize opportunities for efficiency, but to anticipate them as well. Alleviating inefficiencies within the workplace has rippling effects across the entire business.

What are the direct benefits of an ergonomics program? ›

What are the advantages of ergonomics? Implementing ergonomic improvements can reduce the risk factors that lead to discomfort. Ergonomic improvements can reduce the primary risk factors for MSDs, so workers are more efficient, productive, and have greater job satisfaction.

What are the disadvantages of activity-based management? ›

However, one of the primary risks associated with using the ABM method is that it ignores the intrinsic value of activities and focuses only on the quantifiable and financial aspects of each activity.

What are 3 cons negatives of working in groups? ›

Disadvantages of Working in a Group:
  • Unequal Participation: ...
  • Intrinsic Conflict: ...
  • No Individual thinking: ...
  • Decision making takes time: ...
  • Easy to avoid work: ...
  • Loss of Creativity: ...
  • Time Consuming: ...
  • Inequality in getting work:

How effective is activity-based learning? ›

Supports Overall Development of children– Activity-based learning helps to develop social skills in children and also fosters team spirit in them. It helps to enhance the knowledge of children at the ground level. It supports them to acquire knowledge outside their educational environment and know reality.

What are 4 benefits of a work based learning program? ›

WBL gives students opportunities to practice skills in real-world scenarios. WBL helps students develop soft skills. WBL gives students a chance to observe professionals in action. WBL helps students network with potential employers.

What are 3 benefits of work based learning? ›

Benefits to Students and Workers

These include not only technical skills but also professional skills, such as the ability to work as a member of a team, an awareness of the need to be proactive, and an understanding of workplace expectations. Get firsthand involvement in specific occupations or industries.

What are the 4 strategies in facility planning? ›

Strategic facility planning process
  • Step one: Setting up your planning environment. ...
  • Step two: Forecasting. ...
  • Step three: Evaluating space plans and scenarios. ...
  • Step four: Implementation and follow-up.

How can we improve facilities in the workplace? ›

10 Ways Facility Managers Can Improve the Quality of Work Environments
  1. Place Real Plants Around the Workplace. ...
  2. Keep Work Areas Clean and Organized. ...
  3. Purchase Quality Ergonomic Furniture. ...
  4. Control Noise Levels. ...
  5. Allocate Space Appropriately. ...
  6. Choose the Right Colors For Paint. ...
  7. Keep the Temperature Just Right.
Apr 22, 2014

What are the benefits of facility planning? ›

Take a look at the biggest benefits of good facilities management and how they help a workplace run at maximum efficiency.
  • Asset tracking and management. Tracking assets and budgets through spreadsheets is about as convoluted as it gets. ...
  • Space optimization. ...
  • System of record. ...
  • Cost analysis. ...
  • Integration.

What are the 5 benefits of ergonomics? ›

Ergonomics helps decrease pain, strengthen muscles, and increase blood flow. Combined, this can improve mental insight. The improved moods and focus will allow you and your employees to be more productive and engaged in your work.

Is there any disadvantages of ergonomics? ›

Poor ergonomics contributes to muscle strain, muscle imbalances, and fatigue. Many muscle strains result from performing the same motion over and over again. These become repetitive stress injuries, which are some of the most common workplace injuries.

How do ergonomics improve productivity? ›

Ergonomics creates a well-designed workspace that promotes good posture, decreases exertion, eliminates awkward postures, decreases repetitive motions, improves reaches and heights, and decreases the need for high-force activities. All of these considerations create more productive employees.

What are the disadvantages of ABC analysis? ›

The limitations of ABC analysis are as follows. As more emphasis is placed on class A items, it is easy to not give importance to class B and C items. It can lead to loss and theft of those items as they are not prioritized and so they may not be audited as often as the class A items.

What are the disadvantages of implementing an ABC system? ›

Disadvantages of Activity-Based Costing
  • Collection and preparation of data is time-consuming.
  • Costs more to accumulate and analyze information.
  • Source data isn't always readily available from normal accounting reports.

What is the disadvantage of activity based budgeting? ›

Activity-Based Budgeting – Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage of implementing ABB is that it is more costly and time-consuming to implement than other budgeting methods. As all costs associated with a business activity are tracked, all technical details must be recorded as they occur.

What are two disadvantages of working in a team? ›

But are there disadvantages to work in a team? Working in teams carry the potential risk of inefficient communication, complex, sometimes too long lasting decision processes and personal conflicts. Also dysfunctions, like group losses, social loafing, group thinking and risk-shifting are a part of any team.

How does activity based learning help students? ›

Benefits of an Activity Based Curriculum

They develop creative thinking skills. Using problem-solving games and activities is a great way to get children thinking outside the box. Building these creative and reasoning skills is important as children progress through school. They're student-led.

What are the pros and cons of activity education? ›

Comparison Table:
Advantages of Extracurricular ActivitiesDisadvantages of Extracurricular Activities
Improves the confidence and esteem of the studentsExtra expenses in the schedule
Social comfort and relationshipsTiredness and frustration
It is a secret to a perfect college application
5 more rows

What effect does activity based learning have on students? ›

Activity-based learning facilitates students to learn self-direction and develop critical thinking skills for problem solving at all levels of education. The major role of educationists is to work with students and pin-point the hurdles students face.

What are the disadvantages of work-based learning? ›

Cons: Lack of Flexibility – If you are learning alongside another full-time job, or perhaps you are a parent or a career with a hectic schedule, then classroom learning may not fit around your lifestyle very well.

What is the main purpose of work-based learning? ›

Work-based learning can be used to achieve a number of different objectives, such as: • to develop vocational skills that contribute to recognised vocational qualifications; • to develop general work habits and job-readiness; • to help students to understand what is involved in jobs so that they make better career ...

What are 3 work-based learning development activities? ›

Work-based learning experiences, may include:

Job Shadowing. Career Mentorship. Career Related Competitions. Informational Interviews.

Which of these is an advantage of activity based learning? ›

Hence, we conclude that one of the advantages of activity-based learning is that it provides opportunities to use multiple senses.

Why is based learning so important? ›

Play-based learning is important to a child's development of social and emotional skills, such as the ability to develop positive relationships with peers. As children play together, they learn to get along with one another, cooperate, communicate effectively, problem solve and resolve conflicts.

What are the 3 main planning strategies? ›

Three major types of plans can help managers achieve their organization's goals: strategic, tactical, and operational. Operational plans lead to the achievement of tactical plans, which in turn lead to the attainment of strategic plans.

What are the three P's in facility management? ›

The three P's of facility management are People, Process, and Place.

What are the 5 strategic plans? ›

What is strategic planning?
  • Define your vision.
  • Assess where you are.
  • Determine your priorities and objectives.
  • Define responsibilities.
  • Measure and evaluate results.
Aug 19, 2022

What are best facilities management? ›

Facilities Management Best Practices
  • Centralize facility management through software. ...
  • Stay abreast of technology and the office IoT. ...
  • Collect as much information as possible. ...
  • Recognize and capitalize on trends. ...
  • Automate facilities processes. ...
  • Make budgeting a priority. ...
  • Customize management to your facilities.

How can facility management improve productivity? ›

FM can improve social interaction among colleagues as well as enabling them to work in an effective, focused and motivated manner. Facility management has a key role to play in enhancing productivity, including deciding the best products and solutions to introduce into an office environment.

What is the pros of facility management? ›

Facilities Management is an essential part of every business irrespective of its size or industry. It ensures smooth operations, effective delivery, client satisfaction, employee productivity, and positive work culture in the organization.

Why do we need good facility management? ›

A good facilities manager will improve the overall operational efficiency of your company. They will provide your employees with the tools they need to work well and help the day-to-day operations of your business run seamlessly.

What is facility planning in simple words? ›

What is facility planning? Facility planning is the systematic process that smart organizations use to ensure they have the facilities and related resources necessary to meet both their short and long term goals.

What are the 3 examples of ergonomics? ›

There are three types of ergonomics: physical, cognitive, and organizational. Each of these differently affects how people interact with their environment, contributing to how effective they are in their work.

What are 3 important components of a healthy ergonomic workspace? ›

Proper office ergonomics — including correct chair height, adequate equipment spacing and good desk posture — can help you and your joints stay comfortable at work.

What are the 4 principles of ergonomics? ›

The 10 Basic Principles of Ergonomics
  • Work in a neutral position. ...
  • Decrease the need for excessive force. ...
  • Keep materials within easy reach. ...
  • Work at the proper height. ...
  • Reduce unnecessary motions. ...
  • Minimize fatigue caused by static load. ...
  • Minimize contact stress. ...
  • Leave adequate clearance.
May 4, 2021

What is a bad example of ergonomics? ›

Working in awkward postures or being in the same posture for long periods of time. Using positions that place stress on the body, such as prolonged or repetitive reaching above shoulder height, kneeling, squatting, leaning over a counter, using a knife with wrists bent, or twisting the torso while lifting.

What are the 3 factors that affect ergonomic risk? ›

The three primary ergonomic risk factors that cause MSDs are awkward posture, high force, and high or long frequency. Combination of postures, forces and frequencies increase the chance of developing an MSD. Posture – In neutral posture, the joints can absorb force more easily that in others.

What are the three 3 types of ergonomic hazards? ›

Types of ergonomic hazards

lifting, pushing and pulling (manual handling) lighting. noise.

What are 3 advantages of ergonomics? ›

  • Increased savings. • Fewer injuries. • More productive and sustainable employees. ...
  • Fewer employees experiencing pain. • Implementing ergonomic improvements can reduce the risk factors that lead to discomfort.
  • Increased productivity. • ...
  • Increased morale. • ...
  • Reduced absenteeism. •

How ergonomics affects the performance of employees? ›

Ergonomics helps improve employee productivity! When given the right tools, employees can feel more comfortable while in the office, spending less time stressing and more time working.

Who benefits the most from ergonomics? ›

Top benefits of workplace ergonomics

Ergonomics leads to healthy and pain-free employees. By designing a working environment which encourages good posture, less exertion, and fewer motions, in turn makes the work- station more efficient.

What are the disadvantages of activity based curriculum? ›

What are the Limitations of activity-centred curriculum?
  • Total education not possible.
  • Cannot be made to work in all Schools.
  • Highlights.
  • Requires very competent teachers.
  • Time factor.
  • Lop-sided development.
  • Pupil differences.

What are the disadvantages of work based learning? ›

Cons: Lack of Flexibility – If you are learning alongside another full-time job, or perhaps you are a parent or a career with a hectic schedule, then classroom learning may not fit around your lifestyle very well.

Which of the following is a limitation of activity based? ›

The correct answer is option C) more cost pools are used.

Which of the following is not a benefit of activity based? ›

Fewer cost pools used to assign overhead costs to products is not a benefit of activity based costing.

What is a weakness of activity based costing? ›

Disadvantages of ABC:

ABC will be of limited benefit if the overhead costs are primarily volume related or if the overhead is a small proportion of the overall cost. It is impossible to allocate all overhead costs to specific activities. The choice of both activities and cost drivers might be inappropriate.

What are the disadvantages of problem based learning? ›

Risks of Problem-Based Learning
  • Prior learning experiences do not prepare students well for PBL.
  • PBL requires more time and takes away study time from other subjects.
  • It creates some anxiety because learning is messier.
  • Sometimes group dynamics issues compromise PBL effectiveness.
  • Less content knowledge may be learned.
Nov 12, 2009


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