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Herbig, Britta ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6772-5255; Schneider, A. and Nowak, Dennis ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7871-8686 (2016): Does office space occupation matter? The role of the number of persons per enclosed office space, psychosocial work characteristics, and environmental satisfaction in the physical and mental health of employees. In: Indoor Air, Vol. 26, No. 5: pp. 755-767

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Abstract

The study examined the effects of office space occupation, psychosocial work characteristics, and environmental satisfaction on physical and mental health of office workers in small-sized and open-plan offices as well as possible underlying mechanisms. Office space occupation was characterized as number of persons per one enclosed office space. A total of 207 office employees with similar jobs in offices with different space occupation were surveyed regarding their work situation (psychosocial work characteristics, satisfaction with privacy, acoustics, and control) and health (psychosomatic complaints, irritation, mental well-being, and work ability). Binary logistic and linear regression analyses as well as bootstrapped mediation analyses were used to determine associations and underlying mechanisms. Employee health was significantly associated with all work characteristics. Psychosocial work stressors had the strongest relation to physical and mental health (OR range: 1.66-3.72). The effect of office space occupation on employee health was mediated by stressors and environmental satisfaction, but not by psychosocial work resources. As assumed by sociotechnical approaches, a higher number of persons per enclosed office space was associated with adverse health effects. However, the strongest associations were found with psychosocial work stressors. When revising office design, a holistic approach to work (re) design is needed.

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