Work-in-Progress—The Sudden Requirement to Work from Home Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Restrictions: Attitudes and Changes in Perceived Value of Physical and Immersive Workspaces

Work-in-Progress—The Sudden Requirement to Work from Home Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Restrictions: Attitudes and Changes in Perceived Value of Physical and Immersive Workspaces —

Table of Contents


What begins as an undifferentiated space becomes a place as we get to know it better and endow it with value, space is freedom [1]. The context for this work in progress paper is the recent Irish government guidelines and requirement for all centralized office based knowledge workers in the Republic of Ireland to work from home as a result of the Global Covid-19 pandemic. Individual knowledge workers who previously had worked 80% or more in a centralized office environment were selected as part of a mixed methods research study. The paper has two intended outcomes. First, to provide immediate short term insights to better understand the impact of rapid change of physical work space, due to Covid-19 on knowledge worker attitudes and task outcomes. Second, to use the findings in this paper for further research relating to the requirement to work from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact on knowledge workers across a number of chosen areas of interest relating to workspace learning, productivity and how technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR) can improve this experience. The questions posed in this paper are to enable future research and Open Science collaboration beyond that of the Republic of Ireland which could be used to support public sector and private sector organizations to provide more immersive, productive and learning workspaces beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. The full data a survey questions are available in the extended version of this working paper. A Constructivist supported by an epistemological approach encompassing embodied interactions [2] physical determinism [3] and psycho spatial dynamics [4] provide a balance springboard to launch this comparative investigation into this new area of research.

  • Author Keywords

    • knowledge worker productivity ,
    • immersive workplaces ,
    • workplace learning spaces ,
    • Covid-19 working from home ,
    • experiential work spaces ,
    • workspace productivity ,
    • future of workspace ,
    • future workforce trends
  • IEEE Keywords

    • Productivity ,
    • Employment ,
    • Tools ,
    • Market research ,
    • Standards ,
    • Task analysis ,
    • Collaboration


Extensive research in manufacturing environments, on office team, working and the use of technology in the workplace exists with analysis using Delphi [6]and PRISMA lead research [7], but there is a gap in research undertaken that examines the impact of physical workspace on the individual knowledge worker [5]. Additionally, other systematic research reviews [8]establishes that there is a gap and lack of research on productivity measurement of individual knowledge workers where the focus on the technology in the workplace with little in-depth research flowing out of initial studies [9]. This paper takes a trans-disciplinarian approach. The contextual lens being the very recent and rapid change in workplace environments impact their perceived importance of physical workspace as a tool for productivity.

Why is this so Important Now? Workforce productivity reported only a 1-2% increase in the US Labor force during the whole Tech Boom 2005-2015 [10]. A new approach and insight are needed to understand how to develop human potential and productivity in the tech-saturated world we live in. The future of the workplace and workforce is of significant economic and cultural importance to the European Commission [11]. This focus has increased with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The research opportunity is to provide insights and understanding of how the physical workspace can in the future become an increasing workplace tool for growth [12] beyond the determinism of technology [13]. Recent industry-led research identified office-based knowledge worker’s perceived importance of computer technology to be number 19 (out of 24) compared with physical space at number 1 [14]. B.The Questions to be Answered? This paper sets out to address three questions to provide some answers to existing gaps in knowledge from the current broader literature. 1)When an individual knowledge worker is removed from a familiar centralized office environment for an indefinite period of time, how does this affect their perceived level of individual productivity?2)How has knowledge workers’ attitudes and the importance of physical workspaces versus technology tools changed, if at all since having to adapt to a less formalized workspace?

3)How can future immersive VR type workspaces provide the right tools to enable the knowledge worker to at least have the same/more level of productivity beyond the typical ICT type (including conferencing) tools.C.Why is this Research Novel? This research provides a very unique opportunity to test the impact of a shift to a completely distributed workforce. Further, this research is novel for two additional reasons. Firstly, the framework adopted to answer the stated questions centered on the principles of inclusive design [15], a methodology that is increasingly being adopted in building and engineering design to identify the margins of where improvement can be made. The inclusive design approach is now even more applicable given the current Covid-19 pandemic environment. Historically home workers make up just 15% of the total workforce in large corporate organizations [16]. Secondly, the research approach is novel as looks to create a protocol on the understanding that there are multiple dimensions to any given space [17]–[19] where physical workplace environments are rich in “learningcues”and can be very influential in communicating and immersing the physical space user. The psychological dimension also drives response moderators [20] that revolve around personal preference across ambient conditions, spatial layout and functionality. A protocol [21]emerged from this blended model approach that delivers a three-dimensional model of the elements of a workspace to support capabilities of knowledge workers.

Physical – Design attributes of the space Stimuli – The Task or Activity to complete Symbolic artefacts – Technology/ICT devices The hypothesis of the blended model is that more research focus is required on the physical “immersive” dimension relating to knowledge workers.


The focus of this paper was to gain further insights into the value and impact of physical workspaces, the value and place of technology and how individual knowledge workers who typically have not worked from home have responded to and changed their attitudes to the value of physical workspaces. The research approach taken, was shaped by the need to produce insights for companies that could better enable and support knowledge workers who may have to continue to work from home beyond the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Additionally, it was important to secure some insights that impact multiple levels of future research from the industry right through to the European Commission and support their own interest in productivity and focus on workspace satisfaction.

Further and more in-depth additional Open Science research is required beyond this paper to further understand the influence of immersive and experiential home-based workspaces, specifically relating to the continued requirement to work from home and the affordances that are associated with this ever-increasing likely new mode of working in the future. In addition, further research is planned to post the pandemic on assessing the change in knowledge workers return to a centralized office space.

About KSRA

The Kavian Scientific Research Association (KSRA) is a non-profit research organization to provide research / educational services in December 2013. The members of the community had formed a virtual group on the Viber social network. The core of the Kavian Scientific Association was formed with these members as founders. These individuals, led by Professor Siavosh Kaviani, decided to launch a scientific / research association with an emphasis on education.

KSRA research association, as a non-profit research firm, is committed to providing research services in the field of knowledge. The main beneficiaries of this association are public or private knowledge-based companies, students, researchers, researchers, professors, universities, and industrial and semi-industrial centers around the world.

Our main services Based on Education for all Spectrum people in the world. We want to make an integration between researches and educations. We believe education is the main right of Human beings. So our services should be concentrated on inclusive education.

The KSRA team partners with local under-served communities around the world to improve the access to and quality of knowledge based on education, amplify and augment learning programs where they exist, and create new opportunities for e-learning where traditional education systems are lacking or non-existent.

FULL Paper PDF file:

Work-in-Progress—The Sudden Requirement to Work from Home Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Restrictions: Attitudes and Changes in Perceived Value of Physical and Immersive Workspaces —



J. A. Kelly, “Work-in-Progress




Work-in-Progress—The Sudden Requirement to Work from Home Due to COVID-19 Pandemic Restrictions: Attitudes and Changes in Perceived Value of Physical and Immersive Workspaces

Publish in

2020 6th International Conference of the Immersive Learning Research Network (iLRN), San Luis Obispo, CA, USA, 2020, pp. 385-388



PDF reference and original file: Click here


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Somayeh Nosrati was born in 1982 in Tehran. She holds a Master's degree in artificial intelligence from Khatam University of Tehran.

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Professor Siavosh Kaviani was born in 1961 in Tehran. He had a professorship. He holds a Ph.D. in Software Engineering from the QL University of Software Development Methodology and an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Chelsea.

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Nasim Gazerani was born in 1983 in Arak. She holds a Master's degree in Software Engineering from UM University of Malaysia.

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