In the modern knowledge economy, employees are becoming the most important asset for more and more organisations. To achieve an optimal physical support of employees at work is an interdisciplinary management and academic research problem. While the cost transparency in commercial real estate is usually high, benefits are not clear at all. for CRE and FM to decide on how to allocate costs for achieving optimal benefits, they need insight in the causal relationships between physical work environment input variables (e.g. layout, indoor climate, aesthetics) and employee outcome aspects (e.g. productivity, performance, attitude). Existing empirical studies usually focus on a small part of the overall picture. 

This paper aims to provide a holistic state-of-the-art of the approaches taken in such studies through a literature study of 134 empirical studies related to office buildings (from 50 different journals). The articles are selected based on a keyword search in common databases and then entered into a database with information on the empirical parameters of the study, the methodology and author information. From this database cross-tables were build and tested with canonical correspondence analysis (CA), to make strong and weak areas in existing research become clear, identify the gaps in research that still exist and show the (sometimes limited) research focus of different research disciplines.

The analyses showed that although most of the seven categories (and 19 variables) of input and 11 outcome variables have been related to each other in at least one study, there is a clear focus in research on specific topics, leaving interesting gaps for future research. They also showed how the different disciplines of authors (with different knowledge objectives) take very different approaches on the topic in terms of variables and methodologies that are taken up. More cross-disciplinary research is necessary to study some of the gaps that are identified in order to be able to provide CREM with a complete overview of effects.