Publication Details

Engelen, L. & Held, F. (2019). Understanding the office: Using ecological momentary assessment to measure activities, posture, social interactions, mood, and work performance at the workplace. Buildings, 9 (2), 54-1-54-13.


Studying the workplace often involves using observational, self-report recall, or focus group tools, which all have their established advantages and disadvantages. There is, however, a need for a readily available, low-invasive method that can provide longitudinal, repeated, and concurrent in-the-moment information to understand the workplace well. In this study, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) was used to collect 508 real-time responses about activities, posture, work performance, social interactions, and mood in 64 adult office workers in three Australian workplaces. The response rate was 53%, and the time to fill out the survey was 50 seconds on average. On average, the participants were sitting, standing, and walking in 84%, 9%, and 7% of survey instances, respectively. The participants reported they were working alone at their desks in 55% of all reported instances. Reported mood varied up to nine points within one person over the course of the post-occupancy observations. EMA can be used to paint a rich picture of occupants' experiences and perceptions and to gain invaluable understanding of temporal patterns of the workplace, how the space is used, and how aspects of the workplace interact. This information can be used to make improvements to the physical and social workspaces and enhance occupants' work performance and mood.



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