Self-reported health and comfort in 'modern' office buildings: first results from the European OFFICAIR study

Indoor Air. 2016 Apr;26(2):298-317. doi: 10.1111/ina.12196. Epub 2015 Mar 14.


In the European research project OFFICAIR, a procedure was developed to determine associations between characteristics of European offices and health and comfort of office workers, through a checklist and a self-administered questionnaire including environmental, physiological, psychological, and social aspects. This procedure was applied in 167 office buildings in eight European countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Finland) during the winter of 2011-2012. About 26 735 survey invitation e-mails were sent, and 7441 office workers were included in the survey. Among respondents who rated an overall comfort less than 4 (23%), 'noise (other than from building systems)', air 'too dry', and temperature 'too variable' were the main complaints selected. An increase of perceived control over indoor climate was positively associated with the perceived indoor environment quality. Almost one-third of office workers suffered from dry eyes and headache in the last 4 weeks. Physical building characteristics were associated with occupants' overall satisfaction (acoustical solutions, mold growth, complaints procedure, cleaning activities) and health (number of occupants, lack of operable windows, presence of carpet and cleaning activities). OFFICAIR project provides a useful database to identify stressors related to indoor environmental quality and office worker's health.

Keywords: Building Symptom Index; Comfort; Health symptoms; Indoor environment; Office buildings.

MeSH terms

  • Europe
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Self Report
  • Temperature
  • Workplace*