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Office Design: a review of health effects of different office concepts.


Flexible and open office concepts have seen rising popularity the last years. These office designs are questioned during the pandemic due to risk of infections among the users. This paper summarizes international research on sick leave and disability retirement when working in flexible or open office concepts, as compared to cell offices. Seven studies were identified from relevant sources. The evidence quality was assessed according to GRADE.

The main outcomes were:
• Increased risk of sick leave in flexible office
concepts (very low evidence quality).
• Increased risk of sick leave in open office
solutions (low evidence quality).
• No basis to conclude regarding risk of disability
retirement in flexible office concepts.
• Increased risk of disability retirement in open
office solutions (low evidence quality).
• There was no basis to conclude in sick leave or
disability retirement risk between open-plan
offices of different sizes.

The small number of studies, their potential limitations in scope and quality, the heterogeneity in the field, and the present evidence quality of the findings, indicate a need for further research investigations into these topics.


Academic chapter/article/Conference paper




  • Ane Kjellaug Brekke Gjerland
  • Stephan Soos
  • Tor Erik Danielsen
  • Barbro Grude Eikseth
  • Hanne Tosterud
  • Liv Hiis Bergh
  • Morten Arnt Hatling
  • Stein Knardahl


  • Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
  • Unknown
  • Oslo University Hospital
  • SINTEF Community / Staff Community
  • National Institute of Occupational Health




International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate


Healthy buildings Europe 2021: Book of abstracts: 17th International Conference 21st-23rd June 2021, Online/Oslo




291 - 294

View this publication at Cristin