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This study examines whether transitioning from cellular offices to an activity-based flexible office (A-FO) impacts employee absenteeism over time. Based on privacy theory, we hypothesized that changing from cell offices to an A-FO setting would lead to increased employee absenteeism. We further assumed that longer-tenured and female employees would experience greater difficulty with the transition, leading to more absenteeism among these groups. Using a sample of 2,017 white-collar workers tracked over 8 years, we quasi-experimentally investigated if absenteeism in the group with the office design intervention (1,035 individuals) differed from the control group (982 individuals). In the difference-in-difference (DiD) framework, nested negative binomial regression showed no difference in absenteeism between the intervention and control groups. However, a three-way interaction revealed that long-term employees showed higher absenteeism when switching to an A-FO. We discuss our contributions and the implications for corporate leadership, human resources, and change management.
Lauterbach, A. S., & Kunze, F. (2023). A Quasi-Experimental Exploration of Activity-Based Flexible Office Design and Demographic Differences in Employee Absenteeism. Environment and Behavior, 55(1–2), 47–73. https://doi.org/10.1177/00139165231163549