Open workplaces may result in more sick days used

March 18, 2014 at 10:04 PM   |   Comments

| License Photo
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, March 19 (UPI) -- Offices with open floor plans and no individual cubicles may result in employees taking more sick days, researchers in Sweden suggest.

Christina Bodin Danielsson and colleagues at Stockholm University said the link between open-plan offices and worsened health might be due to group dynamics being different in an open floor plan where everyone can be observed by everyone else, Health Day reported.

For example, the open workplace might increase the risk of "presenteeism" -- workers coming to work sick -- and potentially making others sick.

Or it could be due to the fact that germs can spread in the air and on surfaces for up to six feet after someone sick with a cold or flu sneezes or coughs.

Danielsson and colleagues analyzed data from nearly 2,000 people working in seven office designs.

The study, published in the journal Ergonomics, found those who worked in offices with open floor plans took more time off for sickness. Women were more likely to take sick-leave days, the study said. However, in open-plan layouts without individual workstations but with some meeting rooms -- men had higher rates of short sick-leave spells and individual sick days, the study said.

It might be that in addition to the risk of infection, the types of jobs performed in open work spaces, as well as the lack of privacy and control over personal space, could all play a role, the researchers said.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
New research explains insomnia prevalence among elderly
New data shows Melbourne is most well-rested city in the world
New research details rare cancer that killed Bob Marley
Daughters more likely than sons to care for elder parents
Yoga guru BKS Iyengar dies at 95
Trending News