Open plan offices a health hazard!
Astrophysicists peer into the far corners of deep space for dark matter, but for neuroscientists at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) exploring the unknown is much closer to home. They have discovered a mechanism vital to the development of the hippocampus - a region of the brain crucial to the formation of memories, and the lifelong
Full Post: Researchers discover mechanism vital to the development of the hippocampus
Australian researchers have found evidence which supports the sneaky suspicion held by many that working in an open plan office could be a health hazard.
According to Dr. Vinesh Oommen from Queensland’s University of Technology shocking evidence has been found on the health hazards of working in such environments.
Dr. Oommen’s evidence comes from a large-scale review he carried out on everything written and researched regarding open-plan offices and how they affect employees and he says the news is not good as the evidence found was absolutely shocking.
It seems that in 90% of research, the outcome of working in an open-plan office was seen as negative, with open-plan offices causing high levels of stress, conflict, high blood pressure and a high staff turnover.
Dr. Oommen says it has been found that the high level of noise causes employees to lose concentration, leading to low productivity and there are also privacy issues because everyone can see what is being done and being said and this causes a feeling of insecurity.
He says there are also higher chances of workplace conflicts engendered by such close contact and people are more easily irritated by each other.
Dr. Oommen suggests that working in an open-plan office could also contribute to higher blood pressure and an increased risk of illnesses, as bugs such as the influenza virus are easily passed around in that environment.
Dr. Oommen says employers around the country need to rethink the open-plan environment in their offices as the research revealed that the traditional set up of small, private closed offices was far better.
However, he believes some workplaces may be unwilling to change their office style as open-plan designs can save 20% on construction but he points out that employers with a happy workforce have a low staff turnover and lower absenteeism and an office environment that promotes health and high productivity would be more beneficial to employers in the long run.
The study is published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Health Management.
The increasing trend for employers, particularly in the U.S., to bar smokers from applying for jobs or staying in post should be stopped, until the appropriateness of such policies has been properly evaluated, argue experts in an essay published in Tobacco Control. As of August 2008, 21 US states, 400 U.S. cities, nine Canadian provinces,
Full Post: Call for rethink of trend to bar smokers from employment
Exercising at work is supposed to make you more ‘productive’, although there is very little research to support this. A new study seeks to answer whether people perform better in their jobs on days they exercise. The research led by the University of Bristol entitled, Exercising at work and self-reported work performance is published
Full Post: Exercising at work - who’s it good for?
The so called bad cholesterol (LDL) inhibits the breakdown of fat in cells of peripheral deposits, according to a study from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet. The discovery reveals a novel function of LDL as a regulator of fat turnover besides its well-established detrimental effects in promoting atherosclerosis. The study, which is a
Full Post: LDL cholesterol inhibits the breakdown of peripheral fat
Anyone who runs for Prime Minister or President should have an independent health examination to ensure their ability to govern, argues a doctor on bmj.com today. Lord David Owen, a trained doctor and member of the House of Lords, says that millions of people are affected by the decisions of people in high public office,
Full Post: Prime Ministers and Presidents must be more open about their health status
How does a $5000 tax credit help when the average family health care plan now costs more than $12,500/year, and how are working families expected to pay the difference? Why let insurers sell across state lines if it wipes out state consumer protections in the process? Where will people with pre-existing conditions get quality,
Full Post: Health care questions we want to hear answered tonight