Offices with open floor plans tied to more sick days

March 19, 2014
Offices with open floor plans tied to more sick days
Offices with open floor plans and no individual workstations may take a toll on employee health, according to a study published in the February issue of Ergonomics.

(HealthDay)—Offices with open floor plans and no individual workstations may take a toll on employee health, according to a study published in the February issue of Ergonomics.

Comparing data from nearly 2,000 people in seven different office designs, researchers found that those who worked in offices with one of three open floor plans took more time off for sickness. Women in these settings were especially likely to take short sick-leave spells. In flex-offices—open-plan layouts without individual workstations but with some meeting rooms—men had higher rates of short sick-leave spells and individual sick days.

According to researcher Christina Bodin Danielsson and colleagues at Stockholm University, the link between open-plan offices and worse health has long been suspected by the employees who work there, but the reasons aren't entirely clear. It may be that in addition to the risk of infection, the types of jobs performed in open workspaces, as well as the lack of privacy and control over personal space, could all play a role in this higher rate of . The risk for presenteeism may also be a factor, because of the group dynamics involved.

"A prospective study of the office environment's effect on employees is motivated by the high rates of sick leaves in the workforce," the authors write. "The results indicate differences between office types, depending on the number of people sharing workspace and the opportunity to exert personal control as influenced by the features that define the types."

Explore further: Warning: Your open-plan office can make you ill

More information: Full Article
Abstract
Full Text

Related Stories

Warning: Your open-plan office can make you ill

February 25, 2014

Don't blame other commuters if you catch a cold this winter: blame the people who designed your office. According to a study published in the current issue of Ergonomics, workplace layout has a surprising effect on rates ...

Recommended for you

Older people getting smarter, but not fitter

August 31, 2015

Older populations are scoring better on cognitive tests than people of the same age did in the past —a trend that could be linked to higher education rates and increased use of technology in our daily lives, say IIASA population ...

Higher intelligence score means better physical performance

August 14, 2015

New research reveals a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The higher intelligence score, the better physical performance, the study reveals. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.