Employees in open-plan offices are ‘more active’

According to new research, workers in open-plan offices are more active and less stressed than those in private offices.

The US study tracked the movements of hundreds of workers in different offices over three days using heart sensors. The study carried out by the University of Arizona study, published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine is the first to test activity and stress in office workers, without using a survey.

The study, which looked at 231 office workers in government buildings in the US found that those in open-plan offices racked up 32 percent more physical activity than workers in private offices.

The study found that office workers who are less active during office hours are more likely to have health issues, including heart problems and tiredness.

“We all know we should be increasing our activity but no matter how we try to encourage people to engage in healthy behaviour, it doesn’t work for long,” said Esther Sternberg, study author and professor at University of Arizona College of Medicine.

“So changing office design to encourage healthy behaviour is a passive way of getting people to be more active,” she added.

On the whole, men were found to be more active than women.

The researchers have said the potential health benefits of this study should not be ignored.

Open plan offices could also lead to other benefits including better and increased levels of communication as well as an increased awareness of colleagues.