Employee Reactions to Workspace Characteristics

Greg R. Oldham, Yitzhak Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


We investigated the independent and joint effects of four workspace characteristics (social density, room darkness, number of enclosures, and interpersonal distance) on three employee reactions: turnover, satisfaction, and withdrawal from the office during discretionary periods. A total of 109 clerical employees from 19 offices of a large university participated in the research. Results showed that the independent and joint effects of the workspace characteristics accounted for 24% of the variance in employee turnover, 31% of the variance in work satisfaction, and 34% of the variance in discretionary withdrawal. Moreover, the four-way interaction term involving the workspace characteristics contributed significantly to each of the reaction measures, suggesting that employees were most likely to withdraw from offices and to experience dissatisfaction when the following conditions were present: the office was rated as dark, few enclosures surrounded employees' work areas, employees were seated close to one another, and many employees occupied the office. The implications of the findings for future research on workspace design are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1987


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