The relationship between interior office space and employee health and well-being: a literature review

Susanne Colenberg*, Tuuli Jylhä, Monique Arkesteijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)
867 Downloads (Pure)


Health is a trending topic in the office market, yet scientific research on healthy offices is scattered. This study undertakes a systematic literature review on the relationship between the interior space of offices and physical, psychological and social well-being. The review identifies the characteristics of interior office space that have been studied in relation to employee health, and outlines the empirical evidence. Of 2816 papers in the database, 50 addressed the relationship between interior office space and health and did so based on six features: layout, furniture, light, greenery, controls and noise. Evidence on the relationship between interior space and health has accumulated only within a few topics. On the one hand, open-plan offices, shared rooms and higher background noise are negatively related to health. On the other hand, positive relationships are found between physical well-being and aspects that encourage physical activity; between physical/psychological well-being and (day)light, individual control and real/artificial greenery; and between social well-being and small shared rooms. In measuring health, physical well-being is predominant. Similarly, studies have predominantly aimed to prevent health problems rather than enhance health. Overall, the related research is in a nascent stage. Further research is required to verify claims about healthy offices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-366
Number of pages15
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Volume49 (2021)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Health
  • interior design
  • interior space
  • office
  • well-being
  • workplace design


Dive into the research topics of 'The relationship between interior office space and employee health and well-being: a literature review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this