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Reconfiguring workplaces
What happens to an employee’s workplace configuration and work relationships when the corporate office is closed? This paper examines how a workplace configuration – an individual worker’s arrangement of workplaces in a particular combination – shapes their work relationships, and particularly how employees cope with a radical change to their workplace configuration. We investigate this through a qualitative study at a global technology company which decided to close its corporate office temporarily while continuing business as usual. We found that when employees changed from a co-located to a distributed setting, their closest relationships intensified, whereas their more removed relationships diluted. However, through interviews and video data, we found that they cope with the loss of the office by reconfiguring around new physical and digital centers. These findings demonstrate that when studying the impact of places on relational outcomes, it is essential to take a broader perspective beyond a single location and account for the difference in relationship layers.
I wrote this paper together with Evgenia I. Lysova, Svetlana N. Khapova, and Marleen Huysman. This paper was accepted for presentation at IHRM in 2020 (Paris, France).

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