Sickness absence associated with shared and open-plan offices--a national cross sectional questionnaire survey

Scand J Work Environ Health. 2011 Sep;37(5):376-82. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.3167. Epub 2011 Apr 28.

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to examine whether shared and open-plan offices are associated with more days of sickness absence than cellular offices.

Methods: The analysis was based on a national survey of Danish inhabitants between 18-59 years of age (response rate 62%), and the study population consisted of the 2403 employees that reported working in offices. The different types of offices were characterized according to self-reported number of occupants in the space. The log-linear Poisson model was used to model the number of self-reported sickness absence days depending on the type of office; the analysis was adjusted for age, gender, socioeconomic status, body mass index, alcohol consumption, smoking habits, and physical activity during leisure time.

Results: Sickness absence was significantly related to having a greater number of occupants in the office (P<0.001) when adjusting for confounders. Compared to cellular offices, occupants in 2-person offices had 50% more days of sickness absence [rate ratio (RR) 1.50, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.13-1.98], occupants in 3-6-person offices had 36% more days of sickness absence (RR 1.36, 95% CI 1.08-1.73), and occupants in open-plan offices (>6 persons) had 62% more days of sickness absence (RR 1.62, 95% CI 1.30-2.02).

Conclusion: Occupants sharing an office and occupants in open-plan offices (>6 occupants) had significantly more days of sickness absence than occupants in cellular offices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires