Exploring the relationship between the workplace environment, employee wellbeing, and productivity

ROSKAMS, Michael J. (2021). Exploring the relationship between the workplace environment, employee wellbeing, and productivity. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00401


The ‘healthy buildings’ movement has emerged in response to increasing recognition that many indoor environments, particularly office spaces, have a negative impact upon the wellbeing and productivity of the building users. However, the move towards healthier working environments is hampered by the fact that the academic workplace literature lacks a suitable theoretical framework for representing the complex and dynamic nature of the relationship between the employee and the workplace environment. Therefore, the major objective of this research project was to develop and validate a theoretical framework to represent the employee-workplace relationship. A programme of primary research conducted within industry followed the initial development of framework, further confirming its utility for both research and practice. First, a comprehensive multidisciplinary literature review was conducted, leading to the initial development of the novel conceptual framework to represent the ways in which employees are affected by, and act upon, their workplace environment. The Environmental Demands-Resources (ED-R) framework conceptualises the workplace environment as a composite of pathogenic demands (i.e., aspects of the workplace which cause strain and negatively affect employees) and salutogenic resources (i.e., aspects of the workplace which support employee motivation and engagement). A conceptual analysis of the multidisciplinary workplace literature confirms that these concepts are common across seemingly disparate strands of workplace research. Subsequently, a series of five primary research studies (culminating in six published outputs) was conducted. Two studies explored how requirements for the workplace are moderated by individual differences, finding that what constitutes an environmental demand or resource differs from employee to employee (e.g., noise-sensitive employees are less suited to open-plan offices). Two studies explored the use of environmental sensor data to identify environmental demands and predict employee discomfort, leading to the development of a methodology to combine objective building data with subjective human responses. Finally, one study explored the use of innovative biophilic design as a novel environmental resource, finding that a ‘regeneration pod’ more effectively facilitated recovery from work stress than an ordinary meeting room. This thesis presents the results of those studies in full. First, an introduction to the research topics is presented, followed by a description of the key theoretical constructs and a narrative review and conceptual analysis of the multidisciplinary workplace literature. Then, the six research articles comprising the main programme of primary research are summarised and discussed. Finally, the theoretical and practical implications of the research are considered, with a particular focus on the ways in which the research contributes to effective strategies for the creation and maintenance of workplace environments which better support the health, wellbeing, and productivity of their users.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Haynes, Barry [0000-0003-3740-4159]
Thesis advisor - Stephenson, Paul [0000-0002-4875-8887]
Thesis advisor - Spence, Kevin
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr. Barry Haynes and Prof. Paul Stephenson / Supervisor: Dr. Kevin Spence
Uncontrolled Keywords: Article based PhD
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00401
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2021 15:36
Last Modified: 28 Mar 2024 16:15
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/29322

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