How design enhance the situation switching process in individual teleworking

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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Master's Programme in Collaborative and Industrial Design
Teleworking is gradually being applied on a large scale in organizations in China because of the epidemic. At the same time, it is changing from an urgent need to a new normalized office scenario as organizations collaborate more across geographies, reduce staffing costs and improve support related to teleworking. In teleworking, individuals communicate with the organization through multiple electronic devices in a private, non-fixed location to complete work tasks. Compared with office work, teleworking makes personal life and work more closely connected in time and space dimensions. On the one hand, this means that teleworkers can be flexible and fully engaged in their work and leisure activities. However, on the other hand, it also leads to considerable negative effects, such as constant stress due to the confusion between work and non-work time, easy distractions due to the interruption of personal matters, and feelings of overwhelm due to reduced direct social interaction. Undoubtedly, how to help people establish a positive teleworking state to better facilitate good personal work-life interaction is an issue worth investigating. This thesis takes the perspective of "situation switching" in individual teleworking, aiming to explore the possibility of helping teleworkers to better transition between different categories of situations in the multi-activity scenario in individual teleworking and thus help them establishing a better personal state. The research in this thesis is divided into two phases. The first phase is the study of the categories of situations in teleworking, which is developed from the perspective of situations defined by the subjective psychological characteristics of teleworkers in this thesis. By coding and analyzing the raw data, the situations in teleworking are classified into eight sub-situations under three different level of concentration requirements. Further, situation switching process in telework is discussed in two categories: entering and leaving formal working states, and situation switching that occurred during formal work hours with concentration switching as the main feature. The second phase of the study is an examination of the cues that support, represent, and influence teleworkers to switch between situations. By examining the behavioral motivations of teleworkers and the objective stimuli in the work environment that constitute the situations, this study summarizes the cues at both task and environment levels. Based on the study of situation switching in teleworking and the cues that influence the process, a situational adaptive design strategy is proposed in this thesis. Its main advantage is to determine the situation by recognizing the individual's tasks and activities in teleworking, and thus create and switch various cues in the work environment to positively influence the individual's concentration and personal state. Three ambient cues - sound, light and smell - are used in the design strategy. By dynamically adjusting the three cues, the design strategy is able to flexibly and proactively respond to the switching process between different situations, thus helping teleworkers to meet the different requirements of personal state regulation. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the practical implications, limitations, further research and personal reflections to declare the value of the research and the possibility of future development.
Hyysalo, Sampsa
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Hyysalo, Sampsa
teleworking, situation switching, concentration, personal state, distraction, psychological characteristics
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