Offices with open floor plans tied to more sick days

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."

More information: Full Article
Abstract
Full Text

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Warning: Your open-plan office can make you ill

Feb 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 ...

Can non-medical factors trigger sick leave?

Mar 23, 2011

According to UK government statistics over 8 million working days per year are lost due to illness and about a third of these are due to minor ailments such as coughs, colds, sickness and diarrhea. Yet two individuals who ...

Going to Work When Sick May Lead to Future Absences

Jun 10, 2009

Employees who often go to work despite feeling sick have higher rates of future work absences due to illness, according to a study in the June Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the ...

Recommended for you

The hunt for botanicals

Dec 19, 2014

Herbal medicine can be a double-edged sword and should be more rigorously investigated for both its beneficial and harmful effects, say researchers writing in a special supplement of Science.

Mozambique decriminalises abortion to stem maternal deaths

Dec 19, 2014

Mozambique has passed a law permitting women to terminate unwanted pregnancies under specified conditions, a move hailed by activists in a country where clandestine abortions account for a large number of maternal deaths.

User 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.