Longitudinal Study on the Relationship of Workspaces and Wellbeing (Case Study of a University in UK)

14 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2014 Last revised: 11 Oct 2014

Negin Minaei

Faculty of Engineering, University of Windsor

Ali Parsa

Royal Agricultural University - School of Real Estate and Land Management

Nicholai Thomasin-Foster

Royal Agricultural University - School of Agriculture

Date Written: September 30, 2014

Abstract

This paper is extracted from an empirical longitudinal on-going project on seven academic members of a University in UK. The aim was to evaluate their work spaces and investigate potential impact on the well-being and health of the participants. The approach of this research is derived from social design and environmental psychology science. Participants were selected based on, either their expressed dissatisfaction with their work spaces or recommended by their line-manager to improve their low-quality workspaces. The average age of the participants was 46.14. This study was mainly a field study with original data collected questionnaires, interviews, environmental measures and observations (direct and indirect) during a seven months period. Different psychological measures as well as mixed methods have been used to analyze the data. For questionnaires, the standard psychological measures such as (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) HADS, and behavior questionnaires and for observation measures including ‘Mental Status Evaluation Checklist’ have been used. Two separate studies have been conducted: first, their work space has been studied for its physical environmental characteristics (from environmental factors to ergonomics) and second was the status of their well-being specifically regarding the common disorders of anxiety, depression, social phobia and agoraphobia. Results of psychological assessment shows from 7 participants 3 have anxiety in abnormal level and 2 have anxiety in borderline range. Anxiety of 4 out of 5 participants has increased during the last 7 months, and just one of the participants stayed in the same level. In case of depression just one of the participants has developed borderline depression during the study period. Regarding social phobia, one of the participants is still in the abnormal range, one is in the borderline range and the third one has improved from borderline to normal comparing to the last assessment. Just one of the participants showed higher mark in agoraphobia and the rest were all normal. Findings suggest that those who were more dissatisfied with their workspaces regardless of having an organized or disorganized office, developed higher level of anxiety or social phobia after seven months. Photographs will be used to represent the participant’s work spaces in an anonymous way because of the confidential aspects of the study. Tables, forms, and charts will demonstrate the changes in their psychological status that has happened during the 7months of the study and the relationships among different environmental factors and participant’s well-being.

Keywords: environmental psychology; longitudinal study; mixed methods; wellbeing; work space

Suggested Citation

Minaei, Negin and Parsa, Ali and Thomasin-Foster, Nicholai, Longitudinal Study on the Relationship of Workspaces and Wellbeing (Case Study of a University in UK) (September 30, 2014). OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 7, No. 7, pp. 49-64, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2503597

Negin Minaei (Contact Author)

Faculty of Engineering, University of Windsor ( email )

Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation
Windsor, Ontario N9B 3P4
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://socialenvironmentaldesign.com/index.html

Ali Parsa

Royal Agricultural University - School of Real Estate and Land Management ( email )

Stroud Road
Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 6JS
United Kingdom

Nicholai Thomasin-Foster

Royal Agricultural University - School of Agriculture ( email )

Stroud Road
Cirencester, Gloucestershire GL7 6JS
United Kingdom

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