Exploring Office Design Approaches in Relation to Health and Wellbeing: A Scoping Review


Aim: This article explores emerging design approaches in relation to health in the context of office building design. Background: Design for health is an emergent theme in architectural design. Healthcare sector has long dealt with the built environment and its health outcomes. In the past decades, there has been growing interest in the potential of design approaches with a key focus on patients’ health such as Co-design, Evidence-based design, Salutogenic design, User-centred design. Some of these approaches extend beyond healthcare to sectors such as schools and offices. Nevertheless, very little is currently known about how these design approaches relate to employee health and wellbeing in office building design. Therefore, new insights into the existing literature is needed to support discussions on future office design among researchers. Methods: A scoping review of 7432 papers was conducted in 2018, in four electronic databases and five scientific journals to scan design approaches in relation to health and wellbeing in office building design resulting in the selection of 26 papers. Result: The review, firstly, disclosed a mismatch between the research outputs and target population. Secondly, a limited understanding of health in relation to office physical environment was noted. Lastly, design approaches were found to be underdeveloped in the field of office design. Conclusion: It was noted that Salutogenic orientation toward health is not well-recognized in work environments. Further research might be useful to conceptualize positive aspects of health in relation to physical office environment. Design for health is becoming more visible in office context, however, more research is required to expand our thinking toward the impact of the interplay of design aspects on those health and wellbeing related outcomes. This might be through firstly identifying the dimensions of office environments that can support employee well-being, and, secondly, testing and validating existing frameworks. Considering the different cultural norms for dissemination, with research agenda focusing on scholarly communication, against a far more visual language used by designers, we need to identify ways to increase visibility and readability of research outputs

S.ARCH 2019
Melina Forooraghi
Researcher - Institutet för stressmedicin (ISM)

Melina’s research focuses on the relationship between health and the built environment, drawing on a health approach called salutogenesis. More specifically, her research addresses how office design can promote employee health and wellbeing, by studying factors of the built environment that makes us healthy rather than those leading to disease and illness.

Holger Wallbaum
Holger Wallbaum
Full Professor, Vice-Head of Department and Vice-Dean for Research

Holger is a Full Professor in sustainable building at the Division of Building Technology, research group Sustainable Building, and in the Area of advance Building Futures. Holger works within sustainable building on concepts, tools and strategies to enhance the sustainability performance of construction materials, building products, buildings as well as entire cities.