IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Characterization of Open-plan Offices and Coworking Spaces in Terms of OHS


The aim of this project is to document the characteristics of open-plan offices and coworking spaces, in terms of occupational health and safety (OHS).

Coworking spaces are work areas that are not located at home or at the employer’s premises. Both open-plan offices and coworking spaces promote sharing and exchanges with the goal of creating communities where information and knowledge circulate, thus generating more opportunities for innovation and creativity.

Some disadvantages have been noted, such as ambient noise and concentration difficulties, which can lead to health risks or problems (fatigue, stress, etc.) for some. These spaces provide desks that are often non-exclusive or unassigned. Sometimes computers are provided, and printers, videoconference screens and other office equipment are often available. The absence of reserved desks can pose a risk to workers’ well-being, particularly in terms of visual and acoustic privacy, according to some of the literature. We intend to verify these findings.

This research project will enable the compilation of positive factors associated with open workspaces (sense of organizational and social support, collaboration, interaction, sense of job satisfaction, etc.), and negative factors (such as fatigue, concentration difficulties, feelings of being watched, mental burden, stress and even burnout). It will also identify the characteristics of the spaces and work (type of assigned or shared workstations, tasks, interactions and proximity to others) that influence workers’ perceptions. It will also provide better understanding of the factors that have contributed to the establishment of these open workspaces, as well as the effects, advantages and disadvantages for workers and organizations.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 2018-0030
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2024
  • Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay (TÉLUQ, Université du Québec)
  • Sari Mansour (TÉLUQ, Université du Québec)
  • Arnaud Scaillerez (Université de Moncton)