Workplace aesthetics: Impact of environments upon employee health?

Work. 2011;39(3):203-13. doi: 10.3233/WOR-2011-1182.


Associations between self-reported need for aesthetic improvements in the workplace and the need for ergonomic improvement and health factors were investigated to determine the possible impact of aesthetic needs on job performance. The need for aesthetic improvements were compared with the need for ergonomic improvements. All employees at a Swedish broadcasting company were invited to participate in this cross sectional study. Of those who fulfilled the inclusion criteria the participation rate was 74% (1961/2641). Demographic data was obtained from company files and pre-validated questionnaire was used for data collections from the participants. additional questions on needs for improvement were developed, tested for repeatability, and demonstrated to be within acceptable limits. Differences between 'high rank' and 'low rank' aesthetic needs and ergonomic needs were correlated to set ups of demographic, work environmental and organisational and health variables.The perceived needs for aesthetic and ergonomic improvements showed significantly different distributions (p<0.001). Aesthetic needs were more frequently reported than ergonomic needs. There was no significant gender related difference in response distribution of aesthetic or ergonomic needs, whereas differences between occupational groups were shown (0.006 and 0.003). 'High rank' needs for aesthetic improvement were associated to psychologically demanding work, negative work stress, sleep disturbances, problems at work, musculoskeletal pain and lower age. Gender and physical training did not differ between 'high and low rank' responders regarding neither aesthetic nor ergonomic needs. Sick leave was stronger related to ergonomics. The independently tested associations with aesthetic needs were similar to, but fewer than those for ergonomic needs with regard to the variable set ups. Sixteen studied factors out of 24, showed significant difference between 'high and low rank' aesthetic needs, and 21/24 of ergonomic needs, independently tested. The study results show a relation between work place aesthetics and health and well-being. Future work health promotion and prevention may benefit from the inclusion of an assessment of workplace aesthetics.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ergonomics
  • Esthetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Workplace*