Work environment preferences - does age make a difference?

Peggie Rothe, Anna Liisa Lindholm, Ari Hyvönen, Suvi Nenonen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: The paper aims to identify the differences and similarities in work environment preferences of office users of different age. Design/methodology/approach: The paper analyses results of a preference survey answered by more than 1,100 office employees in Finland. The survey included questions concerning user preferences in terms of location, buildings, workspaces, and services. The analysis starts with a principal component analysis (PCA). The respondents are divided into five clusters based on their year of birth, and their responses are compared based on regression analysis. The identified differences are confirmed by discriminant analysis. Findings: The study shows that there are differences in the work environment preferences of users of different age. Significant differences were found concerning personal services, commuting, collaboration, restaurant services, and adjustability of indoor climate. The study also identifies areas in which preferences between younger and older employees did not differ remarkably, such as privacy and the virtual environment. Research limitations/implications: While the study indicates that there are preference differences in the workforce as it currently exists, it does not explain whether the identified differences are connected to generations, or if they are simply a result of age and experience. Practical implications: The paper includes findings that are valuable for all parties that are involved in designing and managing work environments. Originality/value: The results give new insights on what office users of different age prefer in their work environments. The paper proposes that some general notions regarding generational differences in the workplace lack academic evidence, and presents results that suggest that the differences are not as significant as generally thought.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)78-95
    Number of pages18
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Age
    • Finland
    • Preference
    • User studies
    • Workplace

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Architecture
    • Building and Construction
    • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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