Physical Work Environment for Health, Well-being and Performance – a systematic review

This literature review focuses on identifying the ways in which a sound and healthy workplace can be designed to provide favourable conditions for good job performance in parallel with a high level of well-being.


The review intentionally excludes problem-focused research regarding injury risks, as well as health-promotion initiatives that require employees to take greater individual responsibility for increasing physical activity or changing their lifestyle. The focus is instead on workplace well-being outcomes that result from well-designedworkplaces in terms of layout and technical solutions (such as equipment, furniture, etc.). The review consists mainly of literature from the ergonomics and design fields, to emphasize knowledge about the intentional design of the work environment and its components.

The findings outline various types of well-being and performance outcomes, e.g. health, satisfaction, recovery, comfort, commitment, productivity, efficiency, creativity, problem-solving and cooperation. Some “negatively” expressed outcomes can be considered indicators of physical workplace health when they are reduced, for example reduced physical loading, reduced stress, reduced risk of physical injury or reduced human error. Not all of these outcomes fall strictly within the (designed) physical work environment context; they concern cognitive and organizational workplace well-being as well.

This report is written by

Cecilia Berlin
Maral Babapour Chafi

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