Design factors for a healthy working environment

Annual Jarl Andersson scholarship awarded to Alexandra Moore, equipment designer, economist, and industrial doctoral candidate

Alexandra Moore received the prize during the Stockholm Furniture Fair’s function ‘A colourful evening’ at Stockholm Concert Hall. Her research will chart the connection between design factors in the physical environment and human creativity and well-being – a topic that has never been of more immediate importance.

Ill-health, burnout, reporting sick: today’s high rate of sick leave with an increasing number of sick-report diagnoses worries many and forms a serious threat to welfare, public health, and economic growth.What is the connection between working environment factors and ill-health? “When we fully understand that we live in a knowledge-based society, it becomes clear that we must increase our consciousness of how we can stimulate more senses than before so that we should feel well, develop ourselves, and experience satisfaction and well-being”, thinks Alexandra Moore. “And if people are comfortable, they do a better job and their competence increases, which is to the advantage of both the individual and the company’, she continues, having always taken an economic view of both her job and her research.”

Alexanda Moore is this year's winner of the Jarl Andersson scholarship The objective of Alexandra’s research project is for her dissertation to function as a practical guide and an aid to planning and design of future workplaces and conversion of existing ones. The experience should be usable in most working environments, such as offices and schools, and by everyone who works on planning of working environments – ergonomists, architects, HR managers, manufacturers, and equipment companies. An interdisciplinary approach is essential, she thinks.

But how should this be achieved? “I will carry out three case studies in which I will evaluate visual design factors such as light, sound, colour, form and water – factors that affect sense impressions. How they affect our behaviour, well-being, and creativity, and the health experienced will be studied in various forms’, she explains. ‘Some of the research will be carried out in small, flexible research labs, and some in actual working environments.”