The Psychological Impacts of Office Types: A Scoping Review

How, Joshua Han Jia
Wood, Jay
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Bachelor of Health Science (Honours)
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Auckland University of Technology

The office is a significant environment for most ordinary individuals. With a substantial portion of their waking hours spent in these environments, the designs of these environments are a crucial consideration for the well-being of all persons. This scoping review is underpinned by the five-stage framework by Arksey and O'Malley (2005). The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview of relevant recent research regarding the psychological outcomes of differing office designs, specifically focussing on the closed layout, open-plan, and activity-based working offices. Only studies from 2016 onwards were included due to the comprehensive nature of a previous work by Kegel (2017) and is further discussed later.

Our findings indicate that research on the effects of the office layout continues to be mixed and contradictory. This review has found that the effects of the open-plan office continue to be a key focus of recent literature, and literature on the effects of the activity-based working office has continued to grow and are summarised. Briefly, recent literature on both these office designs has confirmed pre-2016 findings and general assumptions relating to key outcomes, such as noise, distractions, and privacy. But they have also highlighted findings that challenges these pre-conceived ideas. Lastly, new themes relating to the perceived fit of the office design and the specific application of designs to occupations are highlighted, along with noticeable gaps in the literature. This review highlights research gaps concerning cultural differences in the relationship between psychological outcomes and office designs, and the skewed proportion of sample local originating from western societies which points to a potential misrepresentation of the working force.

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