Activity Based Working

Activity Based Working

Activity Based Working (ABW) is a transformational business strategy that provides people with a choice of settings for a variety of workplace activities. Rather than forcing individuals to undertake all their work at one setting, such as a fixed desk or within a designated cubicle, ABW seeks to encourage people to physically locate themselves where it is most suitable for them to complete their work. Spaces are designed to create opportunities for a variety of workplace activities from intense, focused work to impromptu and informal meetings or more formal meetings.

History of Activity Based Working

The first known reference to an activity-based analysis of office work modes was by American architect Robert Luchetti from the late 1970's. He co-invented the now widely accepted concept of the office as a series of "activity settings" in 1983. In an activity settings-based environment, multiple settings are provided which have different technical and physical attributes assembled to support the variety of performance "modes" that take place in a work environment.

The term Activity Based Working was first coined in the book, the Art of Working, by Erik Veldhoen, a Dutch consultant and author of the book The Demise of the Office.[1] was first implemented by Interpolis in the nineties in the Netherlands.

The Activity-Based Office.

The activity‐based office concept of the modern office is set to increase productivity through the stimulation of interaction and communication while retaining employee satisfaction and reducing the accommodation costs. Although some research has gone into understanding the added value, there is still a need for sound data on the relationship between office design, its intentions and the actual use after implementation. The purpose of this paper is to address this issue.[2]


The need for a new office.

To create a successful work environment it's important to have insight into the demands and behaviours of the employees using this environment[4]

There are three pillars that support a new way of working, based on the philosophy of Activity-based working. These are the behavioral, virtual and physical environment of our work environment, which can be linked to our working processes, Human Resources, IT and Facility Management in our work environment.


  1. "Cozy in Your Cubicle? An Office Design Alternative May Improve Efficiency" Bloomberg
  3. The Art of Working by Erik Veldhoen
  4. Oseland, N. (2009). The impact of psychological needs on office design. Journal of Corporate Real Estate Management, 11(4), 244-254
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