Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Art and Visual Culture


Interior Design

First Advisor

Çigdem T. Akkurt


Workplace environments are ever changing and typically contingent upon various changes that take place in society including economics, demographic shifts, and technology (Maitland & Thompson, 2011). In last decade, pendulum for workplace environment has gone back and forth from vastly open offices to private arrangements. One trend that has emerged recently is the Alternate Workplace Strategy (AWS). This strategy expands definable work zones beyond the individual assigned or unassigned workspace, creating a combination of elements like workstations, open and enclosed collaboration and interaction zones and so on. The core value of this strategy is to create a workplace that is a stronger tool for people to create business results (Becker & Steele, 1995). The unassigned or non-territorial workspace is where the individual employee has no dedicated personally assigned office, workstation, or desk (Becker & Steele, 1995). Most of the research in workplace focuses either on impact of open office space on employee’s well-being, productivity, interaction or issues related to privacy and focus. Significant research is not found in the area of unassigned workspaces based on the model of AWS and its relation to employees’ satisfaction and engagement.

Grounded in research that includes the history of workplace design, issues inherent in organization and operation, and matters associated with individual productivity within the workplace environment, the purpose of this thesis is to better understand how non-territorial workspace in an AWS model translates into an effective workspaces. Family and Work Institute ( categorizes six components for an effective workplace. The six categories are: opportunities for learning, supervisor support for work success, autonomy, culture of trust, work-life fit and satisfaction with earnings, benefits and opportunities for advancement (Families and Work Institute, 2012). For the purpose of this thesis, only three categories: opportunities of learning, autonomy and culture of trust are taken into consideration as the other three categories focuses more on workplace operation and policy making and not particularly on spatial parameters. The primary research questions driving this study are: What spatial characteristics in non-territorial alternate workplace make them effective workplaces? Do these spatial characteristics contribute positively to employees’ engagement, satisfaction and retention?

This thesis is researched through the lens of two case studies of firms recently designed on this strategy. Mixed methodology i.e. primarily qualitative with quantitative survey nested into it is used for this study. Grounded theory, one of the strategies of qualitative research methodology is applied to this research as an overarching methodology and as a method for analyzing the data. The thesis is aimed to reveal the participants’ perspectives and interpretations of their own actions/behavior and their physical environment on effectiveness in relation to the non-territorial alternate workplace. The information helped in development of an overarching theoretical scheme for integrating categories and describing the employees’ experiences of their work environment from the various perspectives.

This thesis will help bridge that gap and document how the strategy of non-territorial workplace can translate into an effective workspace for the employees where they can be engaged, satisfied and plan to stay longer. This study will provide recommendations that could inform design practitioners, educators, and contribute to the overall body of knowledge in this area.


Copyright Owner

Tina Patel



File Format


File Size

146 pages