Transdisciplinary Workplace Research (TWR) network

Employers, consultants and researchers are constantly looking for ways to better understand how work can yield optimal results in terms of performance, satisfaction, health and wellbeing. Within this quest, the awareness is growing that the place where work is carried out, plays a vital role. Social, physical, technological and managerial aspects of the workplace interact with worker behaviour and with one other. Hence, a transdisciplinary approach is required to advance our knowledge and practices. Until now, different aspects of the workplace are mostly studied within separate academic and professional fields. That is why the Transdisciplinary Workplace Research (TWR) network was initiated in 2017. Its intention is to bring together workplace researchers and professionals from all relevant disciplines to share their insights and ideas.

News

TWR 5-year anniversary

May 18 2022 our network celebrates its first anniversary. Exactly 5 years ago, we held our first ever board meeting to get this network started with workplace researchers from across the globe. The board hopes to eat cake with you in Milan at #TWR2022 to celebrate this! Below you find a short blog written to celebrate our anniversary, with thoughts from some of these board members on why they like TWR so much.

People, workplace and management – research through disciplines

The Transdisciplinary Workplace Research (TWR) network was initiated in 2017. Its intention is to bring together workplace researchers and professionals from all relevant disciplines to share their insights and ideas to ensure evidence-based workplace development. The network is celebrating its 5-year anniversary on the 18th of May 2022. Let’s have a look at the very first thoughts of the board in 2017.

Why TWR?

The founder and chair of the Transdisciplinary Workplace Research (TWR) network is Rianne Appel-Meulenbroek from the Netherlands. She is an Associate Professor in corporate real estate (CRE) and workplace at the Department of the Built Environment at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). “The only way to provide real evidence for the business case of workplace interventions is by getting involved in transdisciplinary research initiatives”, she states. Therefore, she approached a selection of workplace researchers from different disciplines to form a board for the TWR network. The following people joined Rianne in the first TWR board that jointly have setup the network: Remi Ayoko, Derek Clements-Croome, Alison Hirst, Jan-Gerard Hoendervanger, Annette Kämpf-Dern, Rachel Morrison, Ingrid Nappi, Suvi Nenonen, Cheuk Fan Ng, Kerstin Sailer, Sara Wilkinson, and Mascha Will-Zocholl. Later, others followed.

Suvi Nenonen from Finland, currently working as a senior expert in University of Helsinki, shared the significance of transdisciplinary approach to workplace research. Her background is in social sciences and she conducted her PhD in 2005 to Helsinki University of Technology. “According to my experience of transdisciplinary research work, it is not easy to find the common language  and shared understanding across the disciplines. Communication between different groups and sciences is challenging. TWR network is one potential tool to share the knowledge and increase the common understanding”, says Suvi about her motivation to engage with the TWR network. In 2018 the first conference took place in Finland, hosted by Suvi and her colleagues. Important knowledge and experiences were shared across disciplines regarding methodological challenges, building design and the study of people and their behaviour in their work environment.

Most of the inaugural board members joined this first conference, including Kerstin Sailer, professor in the Sociology of Architecture in The Bartlett School of Architecture, United Kingdom. She investigates the impact of spatial design on people and social behaviours inside a range of buildings. Her research interests combine complex buildings, workplace environments and space usage with social networks, organisational theory and organisational behaviour.  She states: “The theory of space syntax provides a way to formalise the connection between spatial configuration and human behaviour. I am happy to share the research results how the configuration of office space shapes the activities of people  and I am eager to learn how other disicplines approach the people-building connection – that is the attractor of TWR-network for me.”

Also present in Finland, was Remi Ayoko, associate Professor of Management at the University of Queensland Business School, Australia. “My research interests include the physical and virtual environment of work, open plan offices, conflict management, emotions, leadership, diversity, teamwork and employee territoriality.” Especially, she and her research team (in the Next Generation of Workplaces) investigate how employee interactions and wellbeing are impacted by differing workspaces. “The TWR network brokers new cross-disciplinary insights into people and organizational issues, Remi adds. “It also allows me the opportunity to find new research partners with similar interests for collaboration”, she continues. 

What has happened in five years

The network now consists of over 300 researchers from universities and other public and private organisations involved in workplace research on several different continents. With its roots in Europe, TWR quickly expanded to North America and Oceania, and there is already some interest from the other continents as well. Besides the first conference in Finland, another one was organized as a hybrid conference, by German board members Annette Kämpf-Dern and Mascha Will-Zocholl. The third conference will be held physically in Milan in September 2022, organized by Chiara Tagliaro and her colleagues at Politecnico di Milano. In addition, several webinars have been organized over the years, to share knowledge. The TWR website has also evolved to include insights into PhD studies on workplaces and their users and managers at different universities and a TWR LinkedIn group was created.

Stronger together – wiser with diverse perspectives

Workplace research is still fragmented. This is the reason why the TWR network was created and hopefully over the next decades it will help decrease this fragmentation. More evidence is needed to support business cases of end-users for investing in workplace quality, and both physical and digital workplace matter. We need to increase awareness of users to how buildings affect them and discover how to deal with personal differences. The last two years the global crisis of COVID-19 has provided opportunities to pilot and practice new working methods and topics. Designing, drafting, and testing new structures, processes and practices is as important as the change management of transformation in the new situation – the workplace research agenda is full of interesting research questions for the TWR-network to respond to.

TWR2020 special issue online

The first part of the two-part TWR2020 conference special issue in Journal of Corporate Real Estate is now online at https://www.emerald.com/insight/publication/issn/1463-001X/vol/24/iss/1.

It is guest edited by the last conference’s hosts, Mascha Will-Zocholl and Prof. Dr. Annette Kämpf-Dern, with articles from Maral Babapour, Antonio Cobaleda Cordero, Clara Weber, Birgitta Gatersleben, Suvi Nenonen, Marko Lahti, Erkki Sutinen, Cornelia Gerdenitsch, Thomas Meneweger, Christina Stockreiter, Paul Butterer, Martina Halbwachs, and Daniel Scheiblhofer.

>120 abstracts for TWR2022

We have received 123 abstracts for TWR2022 in Milan next September. So, TWR2022 appears to become a very knowledge-rich gathering again, with people from all over the world. As last September hardly any Corona restrictions were in place in Milan (and in many other countries), we still presume that the conference will be held physically in Milan. If anything should change, we will of course update you. Please keep an eye on the conference website for the latest updates.

Nomination Immobilienmanager award

The importance of the real estate industry for the overall economy is huge. Real estate shapes the image of our cities, and at the same time, everyone lives or works in a building. That’s why Immobilien Manager Verlag launched the immobilienmanager Award in 2009 to honor the best real estate projects, deals, services and minds in the real estate industry. Incidentally, the company applying does not necessarily have to be a real estate company.

The industry’s prestigious prize, sometimes named the ‘Oscar’ of German-speaking real estate, is awarded every year in 14 categories. A high-caliber, independent jury of respected real estate industry experts nominates up to three award-worthy candidates per category for the shortlist from all the applications received. The nominees in each category receive media attention from the time of the announcement, both in the run-up to the event and during the exclusive gala evening with over 400 top decision-makers from the industry – if there is no pandemic. At the awards ceremony, good nerves are then called for when the winner’s envelopes are opened on the big stage and it’s “The Winner is…”

The TWR network has applied with the TWR2020 Conference in the category ‘Communications’. The other four nominees in this category are (see here: https://www.immobilienmanager.de/imaward-2021-jurysitzung-top-5-nominiert/150/81560/)

  •     BFW Landesverband Berlin/Brandenburg: Transiträume
  •     Cushman & Wakefield: 6 Feet Office
  •     Irebs: Irebs Virtual World
  •     IPH Centermanagement: Blautal-Center Ulm

The 6 feet office concept of C&W won the award, but we are very thankful to have been nominated.

A hybrid conference

TWR2020 will become one of the first truly hybrid conferences – a blend of physical and virtual participation as the potential ‘new normal’ for conferencing of the future. The hybrid conference will be a fully virtual conference with physical sessions in Frankfurt, Germany. People attending the conference virtually will be able to fully participate in all physical sessions and vice versa. For more info, visit http://www.twr2020.org/

Registration has opened

Registration for TWR2020 is now open through https://express.converia.de/frontend/index.php?folder_id=3224

Early bird rates are available until the 31st of May.

Extended deadline

The abstract deadline has been extended until Friday November 15th.

Call for papers TWR2020

The second Transdisciplinary Workplace Research Conference will take place the 16th -19th September, 2020 in Hessen-Thüringen, Germany.

The transdisciplinary workplace research (TWR) network  encourages both academic and professional researchers to submit their abstracts and join us in Germany for TWR 2020. You can submit your abstracts through: https://www.lyyti.in/twr-conference_call-for-paper until October 28, 2019.

Important dates:

  • abstract submission deadline: Monday October 28, 2019
  • decision on acceptance: November 15, 2019
  • short paper deadline: February 28, 2020
  • paper reviews back to authors: March 31, 2020
  • revised paper deadline: June 29, 2020

Call for paper, special issue Journal of Managerial Psychology

One of our TWR network members, Remi Ayoko, is guest editing a special issue in the Journal of Managerial Psychology. Topic: The Physical Environment of Organizational Behavior (OB). Deadline is 30th September 2019. If you are interested, check out http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/call_for_papers.htm?id=8202 for further information.

TWR2018 in Tampere, Finland

TWR2018 in Tampere, Finland has been a great success. Almost 40 studies were presented in 2 parallel sessions. The 60+ delegates represented 14 countries and both academia and practice.