Activity-Based Workplace

Activity Based Workplace (ABW)
Photo by Work With Island on Unsplash

Activity-based workplace is a workspace where employees are given the option to choose a workstation that best-fit their tasks for the day or for a period of time, as contrary to the traditional work practice where everyone is assigned with a fixed desk or cubicle.

Some claimed that activity-based working can boost staff’s effectiveness and efficiency. However, we believe that it all depends on the organizational, roles and individual preferences and needs. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to office interior design, just like many aspects in our lives. These are the main pros and cons to consider when plan for activity-based workplace.


    • Fulfill the needs of some roles which require active and frequent collaboration.
    • Suitable for roles which are not desk bound such as salespersons or staff who usually work on-site.


    • Challenges space planning with the use of furniture of different sizes and shapes.
    • Not suitable for some roles such as accounting or human resource departments which handle confidential information.
    • Employees can not personalized the work area to meet individual’s ergonomic needs. (Read: Workplace Health Hazards)

Many people confuse activity-based workplace and hot desking. They do not mean the same thing. Although all kinds of office setting are meant for reducing real estate cost (read: Typical Business Operating Costs), improving productivity, employees’ satisfaction and retention, the result yielded depends on many factors such as the degree of implementation, corporate culture and level of acceptance among employees. The management needs to conduct a comprehensive study on space utilization to understand users’ behaviors and working pattern to make an informed decision that will ultimately benefit everyone in the organization and produce competitive advantage in the long run.

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