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.
workplace and management – research through disciplines
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.
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.
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.”
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.
happened in five years
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.
together – wiser with diverse perspectives
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.