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The ideal type of office? It is up to you

April 25, 2023

Considering personality of the team when designing work spaces is the key to improve employee focus and happiness, a new study reveals. The research, published in the Journal of Research and Personality, has found that more outgoing people tend to be happier and more focused in open offices, with desks that are not separated by partitions. On the other hand, people who are more introverted and tend to be more worried are happier and more focused in isolated offices.

To achieve these results, the researchers relied on data collected through the “Wellbuilt for Wellbeing” research project, led by Esther Sternberg, research director of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona (USA). More than 270 office workers in four buildings wore health-tracking sensors and received questions on their smartphones asking how they were feeling at the moment. 

The researchers linked various aspects of employee health and well-being, including activity, stress, sleep, behavior, focus, and mood, to different aspects of the environment in which the employees worked, including the type of workstation.

Office workstation type as a predictor of workplace outcomes

“This suggests that the workspace should be designed to fit the worker, and not the other way around,” said study coauthor Esther Sternberg, research director for the University of Arizona’s Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine.

“Our work illuminates the importance of considering both the individual’s personality and their environment in predicting important behavioral and mood outcomes, such as how happy a person is and how well a person is able to work,” added study senior author Matthias Mehl, a professor in the psychology department. “In this vein, we demonstrate that when employers design and allocate workspaces, it may be beneficial to take an employee-centered approach.”

Source: Journal of Research and Personality | World Economic Forum