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Author: Al Horr et al

Impact of indoor environmental quality on occupant well-being and comfort: A review of the literature (2016)

Impact of indoor environmental quality on occupant well-being and comfort: A review of the literature (2016)

This paper reviews and analyses 129 research articles (published between 1970-2015)  which explore links between Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) factors in office buildings and occupant wellbeing and comfort. IEQ factors most commonly studied are indoor air quality, thermal comfort, visual comfort and acoustic comfort.  The authors found significant evidence to suggest that light, temperature, air quality and noise can impact employees’ experience of the workplace and comfort levels.  In addition, these ambient features when experienced negatively are found to be associated with sick building syndrome symptoms i.e. eye/nose/throat irritation, headaches, cognitive disturbances, depression and gastrointestinal distress.  The importance of individual control across all IEQ factors is also discussed, in terms of improving levels of satisfaction and comfort.  In conclusion, this review urged designers and engineers to take into account a range of factors such as sick building syndrome, thermal, visual and acoustic comfort during planning stages.  

Author: Rashid and Zimring

A Review of the Empirical Literature on the Relationships Between Indoor Environment and Stress in Health Care and Office Settings (2008)

A Review of the Empirical Literature on the Relationships Between Indoor Environment and Stress in Health Care and Office Settings (2008)

This paper reviews the evidence from peer reviewed journals / conference proceedings, linking indoor environmental factors with individual stress outcomes.  The review finds that office noise, light, air and temperature can all impact a wide range of individual needs negatively or positively, resulting in outcomes ranging from physiological and psychological to cognitive and social.  Depending on the individual’s coping skills, such outcomes are described as leading to stress over time. A conceptual framework is subsequently produced, although the authors note that causal relationships cannot be definitively established.    This paper also concludes that there is a great need for knowledge sharing between disciplines.

Author: Roper and Juneja

Distractions in the Workplace Revisited (2009)

Distractions in the Workplace Revisited (2009)

This multi-disciplinary systematic literature review of 59 studies investigates how to marry the two contrasting requirements of office knowledge workers - concentration and collaboration.  It summarises the broad range of outcome variables seen across studies, which measure mainly short-term negative reactions, and finds broadly that acoustic distraction correlates with cognitive loading; frequent interruptions; lack of privacy; increased stress; lower motivation; reduced social facilitation and interaction; reduced performance; and reduced satisfaction.  This review criticises Real Estate/Facilities experts in placing importance solely on cost savings, and ignoring “the tremendous cost of human capital”.  It concludes that there is a need for organisations to perform a cost analysis on the impact that distractions have on office workers today and calls for adaptable workspaces to meet the dual needs of collaboration and concentration.

Author: Gillis and Gaterslaben

A Review of Psychological Literature on the Health and Wellbeing benefits of Biophilic Design (2015)

A Review of Psychological Literature on the Health and Wellbeing benefits of Biophilic Design (2015)

This study aims to review the psychological peer reviewed literature which considers the benefits of biophilic design, drawing on Attention Restoration Theory (ART) and Stress Recovery Theory (SRT), commonly used in environmental psychology.  The review states it is non-systematic, and cites studies across different environments, not just the workplace.  The number of studies reviewed for the article is not provided.

 

The results show that there are considerable positive benefits for certain biophilic design attributes e.g. natural light, water, plants, images and colour palettes.  Positive benefits found included improved mood, communication, concentration, pain tolerance, productivity and reduced stress levels.  This paper concludes that there is a need for a systematic literature review with a broader scope to include planning, design and architectural areas.  It also suggests further research should investigate how the combination of two or more natural attributes in the built environment might impact our health and wellbeing.

Author: De Croon et al

The effect of office concepts on worker health and performance: a systematic review of the literature (2005)

The effect of office concepts on worker health and performance: a systematic review of the literature (2005)

This systematic literature review analyses 49 studies (1972-2004) to examine how office location, layout and use can affect the employees’ job demands, job resources and short term reactions (e.g. physiological responses, job satisfaction) and long-term reactions (e.g. health and performance.)

 

Strong evidence is found to suggest that working in open plan offices reduces perceptions of privacy and job satisfaction.  Limited evidence is found to suggest that working in open plan space intensifies cognitive workload and worsens interpersonal relationships.  Limited evidence is also found to suggest that desk-sharing improves communications.  No evidence was found to suggest any specific long term reactions, mainly due to a lack of longitudinal studies in this area. Also, it is worth noting that many references cited are from the late 1980s and 1990s, when open plan offices were in their infancy, and thus the study may be less illustrative of offices today.

Author: Richardson et al

Office design and health: A systematic review (2017)

Office design and health: A systematic review (2017)

The research question of this paper was “Does workplace design affect the health of workers?” The literature search identified 15 relevant studies (2000-2017) addressing health effects of shared or open-plan offices compared with individual offices. Outcomes included sickness absence; health and wellbeing (including psychosocial measures of demands/supervision/peer support); job satisfaction and concentration. The results showed that, compared with individual offices, shared or open-plan office space is not beneficial to employees’ health, with consistent findings of negative impact on staff health, wellbeing and productivity. The authors note that these findings are consistent with those of earlier reviews.

 

This paper did not, however, appear to consider Activity Based Working offices separately (where a variety of working locations are available for an employee and they select their base depending on the type of task they are performing). In addition, a number of the studies used academic settings rather than commercial offices.

Author: Engelen et al

Is activity based working impacting health, work performance and perceptions? A systematic review (2018)

Is activity based working impacting health, work performance and perceptions? A systematic review (2018)

This systematic review examines 17 studies (total sample 36,000+ participants).  It aims to establish the effects of activity based working (ABW) on health, work performance and perceptions of the work environment.   For a definition of ABW see 'Summary of evidence.'  The authors found that ABW has positive impact on social interaction, communication, control of time and space, and satisfaction.  Negative associations were found for concentration and privacy.  

 

The evidence pertaining to physical and mental health, however, is inconclusive. Whilst some evidence suggested that occupants rate their general health more positively and are more physically active in ABW environments, it is not known whether these findings translate into actual improvements in health.

 

The authors conclude that overall ABW appears to be a promising concept in terms of work performance and perceptions of the workplace environment, when coupled with a supportive management culture and a well-planned transitionary period to ensure sustained behaviour change.

Author: Chambers, Robertson and Baker

The effect of sit-stand desks on office worker behavioural and health outcomes. A scoping review (2019)

The effect of sit-stand desks on office worker behavioural and health outcomes. A scoping review (2019)

This review examined 53 articles to investigate the effects of sit-stand desks (SSDs) on six domains: behaviour (e.g. time sitting and standing), physiological, work performance, psychological (e.g. mood and satisfaction), discomfort, and posture.  Results showed that SSDs can change behaviours effectively (61% of the studies showed significant positive results) but these changes only have a mild impact on health outcomes. SSDs seem most effective for alleviating discomfort (43% of the studies) and least for impacting productivity (7% of the studies).  This review was limited by the wide range of follow up times employed in the studies, ranging from one day to a year.  Additionally, few studies referred to the important role of training in using SSDs. 

Author: Bellicha et al

Stair-use interventions in worksites and public settings – a systematic review of effectiveness and external validity (2015)

Stair-use interventions in worksites and public settings – a systematic review of effectiveness and external validity (2015)

The aim of this study was to propose an overview of the evidence surrounding stair-use interventions and to investigate the most effective intervention types.  The SLR included 50 studies (25 worksites and 35 public sites). An increase in stair climbing was found during the intervention period in 64% of the worksites and 76% of the public setting studies.  For worksites, combining motivational and directional signs in worksites increased stair climbing to a larger extent.  In public places, increase in stair use is sustained over time more effectively when interventions include two phases.   The authors conclude that there is evidence that stair-use interventions are effective to increase stair climbing in public settings, however, there is less evidence for worksites.

Author: Chu et al

A systematic review and meta‐analysis of workplace intervention strategies to reduce sedentary time in white‐collar workers (2016)

A systematic review and meta‐analysis of workplace intervention strategies to reduce sedentary time in white‐collar workers (2016)

This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to examine the evidence for the overall effectiveness of workplace interventions for the reduction of workplace sitting.  Twenty-six intervention studies (2003 - 2015) met the selection criteria. Only studies with a parallel control group were included.  Sedentary behaviour was measured by self-report questionnaires and/or activity diaries or objective measures (e.g. accelerometry). Interventions types were classified as a) educational / behavioural (e.g. motivational interviewing, goal setting, use of prompts/cues, social comparison), b) environmental (e.g. sit-stand workstation; stationary cycle ergometer and treadmill desk) or c) multi-component (e.g. combination of sit-stand workstations with behavioural interventions)

 

The results showed consistent evidence that workplace sitting can be reduced by interventions.  Multi-component interventions reported the greatest reduction (88.8 min/8-h workday) followed by environmental (72.8 min/8-h workday) and educational/behavioural strategies (15.5 min/8-h workday).

Author: Christersson and Rothe

Impacts of organisational relocation: a conceptual framework (2012)

Impacts of organisational relocation: a conceptual framework (2012)

The purpose of this paper was to examine the economic, social, and environmental impacts of office relocations.  Fifty-three articles were selected for review (from ten Corporate Real Estate / Facilities Management journals) and a conceptual framework for modelling organizational relocation impacts was developed.  Social impact concepts commonly associated with relocations were identified as stress, fear, rumour generation, employee resistance, and psychological attachment to place, which may impact an individual’s sense of belonging.  The paper also highlights that negative experiences of relocation may lead to longer term impacts such as decrease in employee morale, lower job satisfaction, poorer attitudes towards the organization and increased turnover. The importance of good change communication is discussed, citing research which found a strong positive correlation between communication and level of satisfaction with alternative workspace.

Author: Rothe, Sarasoja and Heywood

Short distance corporate relocation: the employee experience (2013)

Short distance corporate relocation: the employee experience (2013)

The purpose of this qualitative research is to examine short distance relocations to better understand the employee experience of the process.  Thirty two semi-structured interviews were conducted within five Helsinki-based organisations that had relocated in the previous 18 months.  The authors discuss relocation as an organisational change process, highlighting the critical roles that communication, participation, feedback, user involvement, individual differences and sense-making play in how employees receive and embrace the relocation, and its ultimate success.  The results showed that even within the same organisation, people experience relocation differently, and therefore employees should not be treated as one.   Results also showed that it was important to identify and manage location change aspects and workplace change aspects as two separate process issues requiring differing approaches.   

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Author: Al Horr et al

Impact of indoor environmental quality on occupant well-being and comfort: A review of the literature (2016)

Impact of indoor environmental quality on occupant well-being and comfort: A review of the literature (2016)

This paper reviews and analyses 129 research articles (published between 1970-2015)  which explore links between Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) factors in office buildings and occupant wellbeing and comfort. IEQ factors most commonly studied are indoor air quality, thermal comfort, visual comfort and acoustic comfort.  The authors found significant evidence to suggest that light, temperature, air quality and noise can impact employees’ experience of the workplace and comfort levels.  In addition, these ambient features when experienced negatively are found to be associated with sick building syndrome symptoms i.e. eye/nose/throat irritation, headaches, cognitive disturbances, depression and gastrointestinal distress.  The importance of individual control across all IEQ factors is also discussed, in terms of improving levels of satisfaction and comfort.  In conclusion, this review urged designers and engineers to take into account a range of factors such as sick building syndrome, thermal, visual and acoustic comfort during planning stages.  

Author: Al Horr et al

Impact of indoor environmental quality on occupant well-being and comfort: A review of the literature (2016)

This paper reviews and analyses 129 research articles (published between 1970-2015)  which explore links between Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) factors in office buildings and occupant wellbeing and comfort. IEQ factors most commonly studied are indoor air quality, thermal comfort, visual comfort and acoustic comfort.  The authors found significant evidence to suggest that light, temperature, air quality and noise can impact employees’ experience of the workplace and comfort levels.  In addition, these ambient features when experienced negatively are found to be associated with sick building syndrome symptoms i.e. eye/nose/throat irritation, headaches, cognitive disturbances, depression and gastrointestinal distress.  The importance of individual control across all IEQ factors is also discussed, in terms of improving levels of satisfaction and comfort.  In conclusion, this review urged designers and engineers to take into account a range of factors such as sick building syndrome, thermal, visual and acoustic comfort during planning stages.  

x
Author: Rashid and Zimring

A Review of the Empirical Literature on the Relationships Between Indoor Environment and Stress in Health Care and Office Settings (2008)

A Review of the Empirical Literature on the Relationships Between Indoor Environment and Stress in Health Care and Office Settings (2008)

This paper reviews the evidence from peer reviewed journals / conference proceedings, linking indoor environmental factors with individual stress outcomes.  The review finds that office noise, light, air and temperature can all impact a wide range of individual needs negatively or positively, resulting in outcomes ranging from physiological and psychological to cognitive and social.  Depending on the individual’s coping skills, such outcomes are described as leading to stress over time. A conceptual framework is subsequently produced, although the authors note that causal relationships cannot be definitively established.    This paper also concludes that there is a great need for knowledge sharing between disciplines.

Author: Rashid and Zimring

A Review of the Empirical Literature on the Relationships Between Indoor Environment and Stress in Health Care and Office Settings (2008)

This paper reviews the evidence from peer reviewed journals / conference proceedings, linking indoor environmental factors with individual stress outcomes.  The review finds that office noise, light, air and temperature can all impact a wide range of individual needs negatively or positively, resulting in outcomes ranging from physiological and psychological to cognitive and social.  Depending on the individual’s coping skills, such outcomes are described as leading to stress over time. A conceptual framework is subsequently produced, although the authors note that causal relationships cannot be definitively established.    This paper also concludes that there is a great need for knowledge sharing between disciplines.

x
Author: Roper and Juneja

Distractions in the Workplace Revisited (2009)

Distractions in the Workplace Revisited (2009)

This multi-disciplinary systematic literature review of 59 studies investigates how to marry the two contrasting requirements of office knowledge workers - concentration and collaboration.  It summarises the broad range of outcome variables seen across studies, which measure mainly short-term negative reactions, and finds broadly that acoustic distraction correlates with cognitive loading; frequent interruptions; lack of privacy; increased stress; lower motivation; reduced social facilitation and interaction; reduced performance; and reduced satisfaction.  This review criticises Real Estate/Facilities experts in placing importance solely on cost savings, and ignoring “the tremendous cost of human capital”.  It concludes that there is a need for organisations to perform a cost analysis on the impact that distractions have on office workers today and calls for adaptable workspaces to meet the dual needs of collaboration and concentration.

Author: Roper and Juneja

Distractions in the Workplace Revisited (2009)

This multi-disciplinary systematic literature review of 59 studies investigates how to marry the two contrasting requirements of office knowledge workers - concentration and collaboration.  It summarises the broad range of outcome variables seen across studies, which measure mainly short-term negative reactions, and finds broadly that acoustic distraction correlates with cognitive loading; frequent interruptions; lack of privacy; increased stress; lower motivation; reduced social facilitation and interaction; reduced performance; and reduced satisfaction.  This review criticises Real Estate/Facilities experts in placing importance solely on cost savings, and ignoring “the tremendous cost of human capital”.  It concludes that there is a need for organisations to perform a cost analysis on the impact that distractions have on office workers today and calls for adaptable workspaces to meet the dual needs of collaboration and concentration.

x
Author: Gillis and Gaterslaben

A Review of Psychological Literature on the Health and Wellbeing benefits of Biophilic Design (2015)

A Review of Psychological Literature on the Health and Wellbeing benefits of Biophilic Design (2015)

This study aims to review the psychological peer reviewed literature which considers the benefits of biophilic design, drawing on Attention Restoration Theory (ART) and Stress Recovery Theory (SRT), commonly used in environmental psychology.  The review states it is non-systematic, and cites studies across different environments, not just the workplace.  The number of studies reviewed for the article is not provided.

 

The results show that there are considerable positive benefits for certain biophilic design attributes e.g. natural light, water, plants, images and colour palettes.  Positive benefits found included improved mood, communication, concentration, pain tolerance, productivity and reduced stress levels.  This paper concludes that there is a need for a systematic literature review with a broader scope to include planning, design and architectural areas.  It also suggests further research should investigate how the combination of two or more natural attributes in the built environment might impact our health and wellbeing.

Author: Gillis and Gaterslaben

A Review of Psychological Literature on the Health and Wellbeing benefits of Biophilic Design (2015)

This study aims to review the psychological peer reviewed literature which considers the benefits of biophilic design, drawing on Attention Restoration Theory (ART) and Stress Recovery Theory (SRT), commonly used in environmental psychology.  The review states it is non-systematic, and cites studies across different environments, not just the workplace.  The number of studies reviewed for the article is not provided.

 

The results show that there are considerable positive benefits for certain biophilic design attributes e.g. natural light, water, plants, images and colour palettes.  Positive benefits found included improved mood, communication, concentration, pain tolerance, productivity and reduced stress levels.  This paper concludes that there is a need for a systematic literature review with a broader scope to include planning, design and architectural areas.  It also suggests further research should investigate how the combination of two or more natural attributes in the built environment might impact our health and wellbeing.

x
Author: De Croon et al

The effect of office concepts on worker health and performance: a systematic review of the literature (2005)

The effect of office concepts on worker health and performance: a systematic review of the literature (2005)

This systematic literature review analyses 49 studies (1972-2004) to examine how office location, layout and use can affect the employees’ job demands, job resources and short term reactions (e.g. physiological responses, job satisfaction) and long-term reactions (e.g. health and performance.)

 

Strong evidence is found to suggest that working in open plan offices reduces perceptions of privacy and job satisfaction.  Limited evidence is found to suggest that working in open plan space intensifies cognitive workload and worsens interpersonal relationships.  Limited evidence is also found to suggest that desk-sharing improves communications.  No evidence was found to suggest any specific long term reactions, mainly due to a lack of longitudinal studies in this area. Also, it is worth noting that many references cited are from the late 1980s and 1990s, when open plan offices were in their infancy, and thus the study may be less illustrative of offices today.

Author: De Croon et al

The effect of office concepts on worker health and performance: a systematic review of the literature (2005)

This systematic literature review analyses 49 studies (1972-2004) to examine how office location, layout and use can affect the employees’ job demands, job resources and short term reactions (e.g. physiological responses, job satisfaction) and long-term reactions (e.g. health and performance.)

 

Strong evidence is found to suggest that working in open plan offices reduces perceptions of privacy and job satisfaction.  Limited evidence is found to suggest that working in open plan space intensifies cognitive workload and worsens interpersonal relationships.  Limited evidence is also found to suggest that desk-sharing improves communications.  No evidence was found to suggest any specific long term reactions, mainly due to a lack of longitudinal studies in this area. Also, it is worth noting that many references cited are from the late 1980s and 1990s, when open plan offices were in their infancy, and thus the study may be less illustrative of offices today.

x
Author: Richardson et al

Office design and health: A systematic review (2017)

Office design and health: A systematic review (2017)

The research question of this paper was “Does workplace design affect the health of workers?” The literature search identified 15 relevant studies (2000-2017) addressing health effects of shared or open-plan offices compared with individual offices. Outcomes included sickness absence; health and wellbeing (including psychosocial measures of demands/supervision/peer support); job satisfaction and concentration. The results showed that, compared with individual offices, shared or open-plan office space is not beneficial to employees’ health, with consistent findings of negative impact on staff health, wellbeing and productivity. The authors note that these findings are consistent with those of earlier reviews.

 

This paper did not, however, appear to consider Activity Based Working offices separately (where a variety of working locations are available for an employee and they select their base depending on the type of task they are performing). In addition, a number of the studies used academic settings rather than commercial offices.

Author: Richardson et al

Office design and health: A systematic review (2017)

The research question of this paper was “Does workplace design affect the health of workers?” The literature search identified 15 relevant studies (2000-2017) addressing health effects of shared or open-plan offices compared with individual offices. Outcomes included sickness absence; health and wellbeing (including psychosocial measures of demands/supervision/peer support); job satisfaction and concentration. The results showed that, compared with individual offices, shared or open-plan office space is not beneficial to employees’ health, with consistent findings of negative impact on staff health, wellbeing and productivity. The authors note that these findings are consistent with those of earlier reviews.

 

This paper did not, however, appear to consider Activity Based Working offices separately (where a variety of working locations are available for an employee and they select their base depending on the type of task they are performing). In addition, a number of the studies used academic settings rather than commercial offices.

x
Author: Engelen et al

Is activity based working impacting health, work performance and perceptions? A systematic review (2018)

Is activity based working impacting health, work performance and perceptions? A systematic review (2018)

This systematic review examines 17 studies (total sample 36,000+ participants).  It aims to establish the effects of activity based working (ABW) on health, work performance and perceptions of the work environment.   For a definition of ABW see 'Summary of evidence.'  The authors found that ABW has positive impact on social interaction, communication, control of time and space, and satisfaction.  Negative associations were found for concentration and privacy.  

 

The evidence pertaining to physical and mental health, however, is inconclusive. Whilst some evidence suggested that occupants rate their general health more positively and are more physically active in ABW environments, it is not known whether these findings translate into actual improvements in health.

 

The authors conclude that overall ABW appears to be a promising concept in terms of work performance and perceptions of the workplace environment, when coupled with a supportive management culture and a well-planned transitionary period to ensure sustained behaviour change.

Author: Engelen et al

Is activity based working impacting health, work performance and perceptions? A systematic review (2018)

This systematic review examines 17 studies (total sample 36,000+ participants).  It aims to establish the effects of activity based working (ABW) on health, work performance and perceptions of the work environment.   For a definition of ABW see 'Summary of evidence.'  The authors found that ABW has positive impact on social interaction, communication, control of time and space, and satisfaction.  Negative associations were found for concentration and privacy.  

 

The evidence pertaining to physical and mental health, however, is inconclusive. Whilst some evidence suggested that occupants rate their general health more positively and are more physically active in ABW environments, it is not known whether these findings translate into actual improvements in health.

 

The authors conclude that overall ABW appears to be a promising concept in terms of work performance and perceptions of the workplace environment, when coupled with a supportive management culture and a well-planned transitionary period to ensure sustained behaviour change.

x
Author: Chambers, Robertson and Baker

The effect of sit-stand desks on office worker behavioural and health outcomes. A scoping review (2019)

The effect of sit-stand desks on office worker behavioural and health outcomes. A scoping review (2019)

This review examined 53 articles to investigate the effects of sit-stand desks (SSDs) on six domains: behaviour (e.g. time sitting and standing), physiological, work performance, psychological (e.g. mood and satisfaction), discomfort, and posture.  Results showed that SSDs can change behaviours effectively (61% of the studies showed significant positive results) but these changes only have a mild impact on health outcomes. SSDs seem most effective for alleviating discomfort (43% of the studies) and least for impacting productivity (7% of the studies).  This review was limited by the wide range of follow up times employed in the studies, ranging from one day to a year.  Additionally, few studies referred to the important role of training in using SSDs. 

Author: Chambers, Robertson and Baker

The effect of sit-stand desks on office worker behavioural and health outcomes. A scoping review (2019)

This review examined 53 articles to investigate the effects of sit-stand desks (SSDs) on six domains: behaviour (e.g. time sitting and standing), physiological, work performance, psychological (e.g. mood and satisfaction), discomfort, and posture.  Results showed that SSDs can change behaviours effectively (61% of the studies showed significant positive results) but these changes only have a mild impact on health outcomes. SSDs seem most effective for alleviating discomfort (43% of the studies) and least for impacting productivity (7% of the studies).  This review was limited by the wide range of follow up times employed in the studies, ranging from one day to a year.  Additionally, few studies referred to the important role of training in using SSDs. 

x

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