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Ubiquitous Working: Challenges and Prospects of the Interconnected Working Environment

Working groupKnowledge Construction Lab
Duration04/2014 - 09/2018
FundingLeibniz Association (SAW-Procedure), IWM budget resources
Project description

Constant technological development makes it possible today to access information independently of time and space. Thanks to mobile devices such as notebooks, smartphones or tablets and a permanent Internet connection, it is also possible to have a constant connection to the workplace. These flexible forms of work design mean that employees can work in different places and environments - from home, in the park or in a café. The fundamental shift of work away from carefully planned office environments to changing work locations that are not designed to work (such as trains or hotels) requires an understanding of how and under what circumstances the work environment affects work performance and cognition.

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Ubiquitous Working

This research project investigated the extent to which flexible and location-independent working models influence the performance and working behavior of ubiquitous workers. It was also investigated whether environmental differences in performance can be beneficial for influencing work behavior and facilitating certain types of cognitive processing. The cognitions and work behavior of ubiquitous workers were investigated in the laboratory and in quasi-experimental study designs. In the laboratory, typical and untypical working environments were simulated using virtual 3D environments to control disturbing variables (such as temperature, noise or light). In the field, real everyday situations were investigated with the help of a smartphone app, for example, which recorded the behavior and characteristics of ubiquitous workers and their work activities over a longer period of time.

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UbiWork Diary App

Within the framework of this interdisciplinary research network with participants from economics, media psychology, industrial psychology, occupational medicine and sociology, practical implications for the meaningful use of location-independent, flexible forms of work could be formulated.


Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW), Mannheim

Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors at TU Dortmund (IfADo), Dortmund

VU University Amsterdam, NL

University of Amsterdam, NL

University of Mannheim

Mannheim Institute of Public Health (MIPH)


Project Website: UbiWork


Burmeister, C. P., Moskaliuk, J., & Cress, U. (2018). Have a look around: the effect of physical environments on risk behaviour in work-related versus non-work related decision-making tasks. Ergonomics, 61(11), 1464-1479.

Burmeister, C. P., Moskaliuk, J., & Cress, U. (2018). Ubiquitous Working: Do Work Versus Non-Work Environments Affect Decision Making and Concentration? Frontiers in Psychology, 9, Article 310. Open Access

Moskaliuk, J., Burmeister, C. P., Landkammer, F., Renner, B., & Cress, U. (2017). Environmental effects on cognition and decision making of knowledge workers. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 49, 43-54.