Mental health+ in the workplace; The relationships between physical workplace characteristics and mental health

Project: Research direct

Project Details

Description

Recently, it has been found that 17 percent of the Dutch society experiences burnout symptoms, such as fatigue and emotional exhaustion. More than one third of the population experiences high work pressure, leading to increased stress at work. People who suffer from a mental illness have consistently been found to be more prone of being absent from work and to be less productive, to make lower quality decisions and to contribute to the organization to a lesser extent. This project aims to give a more comprehensive understanding of mental health at the workplace (labelling this as ‘mental health+’) and the effects of indoor environmental quality on it, to provide workplace managers with insights that can be used to improve work experience and satisfaction of their workforce. The project is divided in four subthemes, which together support the overarching aim of increasing our understanding of workplace conditions for a healthy workforce.

The subthemes are:
1. In the first study, a systematic literature review will be performed to define mental health+ as a comprehensive concept of mental health at the workplace. Here, mental health+ exists of the items well-being, productivity, stress, depression, burnout and engagement, concentration, fatigue, sleep quality and mood. In this study, papers that addressed relationships with physical work environment characteristics are discussed. Physical workplace characteristics are defined as office layout or design, light and daylight, noise, acoustics and privacy, indoor air quality and ventilation, thermal comfort and temperature, and biophilia, views and greenery.
2. In the second study, the findings of the literature review are used to develop a survey to test the relationships that are expected between the different mental health+ items and satisfaction with physical workplace characteristics. These findings will be used in the two experiments that will subsequently be performed.
3. In the first experiment, the relationships between acoustics and noise at the office and mental health+ will be tested. To reduce the dissatisfaction of employees with the acoustics of their office, experiments with sound masking technology will be performed, in which speech noise is masked by raising a stable background noise. The developed mental health+ survey will be distributed among employees to observe these relationships.
4. A second experiment will be performed with a comfort desk, of which the ventilation, temperature and light can be adapted to the needs of the employee individually at desk-level. The mental health+ survey will again be distributed among employees to observe relationships between thermal conditions of an office and mental health+.

Together with a large consortium of leading companies and governmental parties, this research will be conducted. The partners committed to providing their in-kind expertise on the following topics; smart and healthy office development (AM RED, EDGE Technologies), building automation (ABB, Mansveld), engineering (RHDHV, Arcadis) and strategic workplace design (Draaijer+Partners). Public and private office end-user organizations also committed to the research (Rijkswaterstaat, ASML, PWC). Several partners guide experimental set-ups and support the data collection of IEQ conditions in office buildings through sponsored technologies (Cloudgarden, Ahrend, SoftDB, Mapiq). Software platforms to communicate with workplace users and managers will also be provided by partners (Mapiq, Leesman). Together, these companies provide additional knowledge, information and possibilities to the research which are beneficial for obtaining real-life valuable insights.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/09/1931/08/21