Public spaces as workplace for mobile knowledge workers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This purpose of this paper is to review the relationships between the physical and social characteristics of public and semi-public spaces and work behaviors of mobile knowledge workers employed by organizations. Design/methodology/approach: This is a literature review of research from several disciplines on teleworking from multiple settings, particularly in public and semi-public spaces. Findings: This review suggests that both the physical and social characteristics of public and semi-public spaces can constrain the cognitive work and communication of knowledge workers. The physical characteristics include amount of space, layout, ambient conditions and internet and Wi-Fi connectivity. To be effective, mobile workers perform different tasks at different workplaces that support those specific work tasks. Planning and coordinating work tasks for different workplaces is time-consuming and requires anticipation of constraints and effort to overcome obstacles encountered in these places. Research limitations/implications: Little empirical research focusing on these new workplaces is available. There is much need for future research that uses larger, representative samples and a diversity of methods. As this paper is based on a review of a small number of studies currently available in peer-reviewed journals written in English, the findings should be considered tentative. Practical implications: Understanding how the design of the physical workplace, work processes, organizational support and its interface with the virtual space support successful mobile work is crucial for organizations. Corporate real estate and facility managers of public and semi-public spaces should support mobile workers’ needs for internet and Wi-Fi connectivity and provide separate spaces for cognitive work and private business conversations. Originality/value: This paper extends the research about teleworking from home to working in public and semi-public spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-223
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Corporate Real Estate
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep. 2016


  • Hybrid environment
  • Knowledge worker
  • Mobile work
  • Public spaces
  • Telework
  • Virtual environment


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