Workplace design and perceived health status of office workers – a salutogenic perspective

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This study used a ‘salutogenic’ approach to examine factors contributing to relationship between office workers’ perceived health and workplace design. This research used a mixed-methods convergent parallel case study design to examine the workplace elements that impacted the perceived health of workers before and after an office relocation. The influence of workplace elements (including workpoint, office layout, indoor environmental quality and organisational policy) on workers’ perceived health was explored through semi-structured interviews and 66 item survey questionnaires (including SF-12) at both stages. Site analyses were also conducted. Interviews revealed shortcomings in current practice, including a lack of health promotion that limited the potential positive impact of the physical environment. The survey questionnaire was distributed to all employees (515 useable surveys returned). Results show that the interior elements such as the individual workpoint, access to daylight, and access to stairs to support health and enable physical activity should be prioritised to maximise positive health impacts on occupants. Flexibility was consistently highly rated for its positive impact on occupant health. A proactive multi-disciplinary salutogenic approach incorporating both policy-based and physical elements to workplace design will advance current practice by placing worker health and well-being at the centre of decision-making.
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