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WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation is an interdisciplinary, international journal which publishes high quality peer-reviewed manuscripts covering the entire scope of the occupation of work. The journal's subtitle has been deliberately laid out: The first goal is the prevention of illness, injury, and disability. When this goal is not achievable, the attention focuses on assessment to design client-centered intervention, rehabilitation, treatment, or controls that use scientific evidence to support best practice.
WORK occasionally publishes thematic issues, but in general, issues cover a wide range of topics such as ergonomic considerations with children, youth and students, the challenges facing an aging workforce, workplace violence, injury management, performing artists, ergonomic product evaluations, and the awareness of the political, cultural, and environmental determinants of health related to work.
Dr. Karen Jacobs, the founding editor, and her editorial board especially encourage the publication of research studies, clinical practice, case study reports, as well as personal narratives and critical reflections of lived work experiences (autoethnographic/autobiographic scholarship),
Sounding Board commentaries and
Speaking of Research articles which provide the foundation for better understanding research to facilitate knowledge dissemination.
Narrative Reflections on Occupational Transitions, a new column, is for persons who have successfully transitioned into, between, or out of occupations to tell their stories in a narrative form. With an internationally renowned editorial board,
WORK maintains high standards in the evaluation and publication of manuscripts. All manuscripts are reviewed expeditiously and published in a timely manner.
WORK prides itself on being an author-friendly journal.
WORK celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015.
*WORK is affiliated with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT)* *WORK is endorsed by the International Ergonomics Association (IEA)* *WORK gives out the yearly Cheryl Bennett Best Paper Award*
Abstract: Within this special issue, different aspects of the environment are studied: aspects that are distant from the human body, close to the body and touching the human body. Consequently, different human senses are involved in these studies as well as the different consequences and effects on the brain and human behaviour. This special issue also highlights many remaining questions about the effects and relationships between environments and human beings and the need for more studies and research. In particular, future studies are needed that address long-term effects and the effects of the combinations of elements which provide comfort or discomfort.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Working in an office environment is characterised by physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour. This behaviour contributes to several health risks in the long run. Dynamic workstations which allow people to combine desk activities with physical activity, may contribute to prevention of these health risks. OBJECTIVE: A dynamic workstation, called Oxidesk, was evaluated to determine the possible contribution to healthy behaviour and the impact on perceived work performance. METHODS: A field test was conducted with 22 office workers, employed at a health insurance company in the Netherlands. RESULTS: The Oxidesk was well accepted,…positively perceived for fitness and the participants maintained their work performance. Physical activity was lower than the activity level required in the Dutch guidelines for sufficient physical activity. CONCLUSIONS: Although there was a slight increase in physical activity, the Oxidesk may be helpful in the reducing health risks involved and seems applicable for introduction to office environments.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The workplace is important for employees’ daily life and well-being. This article investigates exploratory the office design’s role for employees’ welfare from different perspectives. OBJECTIVE: By comparing different studies of the office, type’s influence on different factors of employees’ welfare the aim is to see if any common patterns exist in office design’s impact. METHODS: The three included studies investigate office type’s association with employees’ welfare by measuring its influence on: a) perception of leadership, b) sick leave, and c) job satisfaction. The sample consists of office employees from a large, national representative…work environment survey that work in one of the seven identified office types in contemporary office design: (1) cell-offices; (2) shared-room offices; (3) small, (4) medium-sized and (5) large open-plan offices; (6) flex-offices and (7) combi-offices. Statistical method used is multivariate logistic and linear regression analysis with adjustment for background factors. RESULTS: Overall results show that shared-room office, traditional open plan offices and flex-office stand out negatively, but to different degree(s) on the different outcomes measured. CONCLUSIONS: This explorative comparison of different studies finds a pattern of office types that repeatedly show indications of negative influence on employees’ welfare, but further studies are needed to clarify this.
Keywords: Office type, sick leave, leadership, job satisfaction, design features
Abstract: BACKGROUND: This study compared the effects of pre-experience and expectations on participant comfort upon waking, arrival to, and after an appointment, as well as the assessment of properly placed Feng Shui elements in three healthcare waiting rooms. METHODS: Participants assessed comfort levels using self-report surveys. The researcher conducted ‘intention interviews’ with each doctor to assess the goals of each waiting area design, and conducted a Feng Shui assessment of each waiting area for properly placed Feng Shui elements. RESULTS: The waiting area designed by the Feng Shui expert rated ‘most comfortable’, followed by the waiting…area design by a doctor, and the lowest comfort rating for the conventional waiting room design. Results show a sufficiently strong effect to warrant further research. CONCLUSIONS: Awareness of the external environment, paired with pre-experience and expectation, influences comfort for people over time. Fostering and encouraging a holistic approach to comfort utilizing eastern and western concepts and ergonomic principles creates a sense of “placeness” and balance in the design for comfort in built environments. This is new research information on the influences of the comfort experience over time, to include pre-experience, expectations and the placement of elements in the external environment.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Open plan offices have proliferated for the past several decades with more and more workers being concentrated in office buildings. Several studies have identified a number of negative factors associated with open plan offices, and those include noise, speech interference, lack of privacy, and a perceived loss of control over work. While negative factors have been identified several times in the literature, many studies rely on either surveys or highly controlled environments. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to use a quasi-naturalistic environment based on a scaled world model to test three hypotheses of the…impacts of office interference on editing and web navigation performance and mental workload. METHOD: A mixed factor design was used that utilized continuous speech recordings, discontinuous speech recordings, and a quiet condition. Individual differences questionnaires were administered to measure focused attention, stress, and cognitive failures. After task completion, participants recorded mental workload ratings. RESULTS: Participants had higher performance accuracy in the document editing task across the speech interference conditions. Mental workload ratings were higher in the web navigation task in the discontinuous speech condition compared to the continuous speech condition. In contrast to the hypothesis, those reporting stronger focused attention performed more poorly across all speech conditions. Overall, the results were mixed. CONCLUSIONS: OPO work design must focus on individual differences among workers to determine how to customize design to facilitate performance.
Keywords: Open plan office, sociotechnical systems, office work, work system design, office layout
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Few studies have investigated silent versus speaking situations while wearing various types of facemasks over a period of time. OBJECTIVE: The main objective of this study is the evaluation of temperature changes with time and the thermal comfort of facemasks under different verbal output conditions. METHODS: A two-way within-subject experiment was conducted to find the effects of facemask types and verbal output conditions. The infrared thermographic technology was used to record the video during the experiment. A subjective questionnaire was applied to measure the perception ratings of thermal discomfort. RESULTS: Wearing a…facemask could result in a higher face temperature compared to the condition in which a facemask was not worn. The N95 mask created the highest temperature value in the cheeks and nose/mouth regions. The speaking condition did not present significant difference on face temperature compared to the silent condition. Participants tended to provide higher subjective ratings of perceived humidity, heat, breathing difficulty and overall discomfort while wearing facemasks, especially while wearing the N95 mask and during the speaking conditions. CONCLUSIONS: Facial temperature distribution demonstrated various trends with time under different conditions. Facemask types had significant effects on facial temperature and perceived thermal comfort.
Keywords: Thermal comfort, temperature distribution, subjective perceptions
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Regulating risk, freedom of action, and autonomy in decision making are problems shared by both caregivers and residents in long term care settings, and may become the subject of tension and constant negotiation. OBJECTIVE: This study focuses on long term care staff and management perceptions of day to day life in a care community which has gone through a culture change transition, where small residentially scaled households replace large instutional models of care. In each household, the setting is considered to be home for the 8–12 residents, creating a major shift of roles for the caregivers;…they are, in essence, coming into a home rather than institutional environment as a place of work. This potentially changes the dynamics of both patterns of work for caregivers and patterns of daily living for residents. METHODS: Participant observations and care staff interviews. RESULTS: Several key themes emrged which include: teamwork; the culture of care; regulating risk; the physical environment and care staff empowerment. CONCLUSIONS: An unexpected outcome was the consensus among care staff that it is they who feel at home while working in the care households, leading to empowerment in their work roles and a deeper understanding of the importance of their role in the lives of the residents.
Keywords: Person-centered care, small house model, skilled nursing facility
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Prior research documents occupancy and patient care quality (OPCQ) benefits for private room (PR) relative to multi-bed (MB) designs in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). OBJECTIVE: To extend this research design to four additional types of children’s hospital units: a cardiovascular care center (CVCC), an infant care center (ICC), a medical/surgical unit (Med/Surg), and a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). METHODS: Staff comments, task activities, patient care demands, and perceptual survey rankings for twelve major indicators of OPCQ were assessed with nursing staff on these units plus an NICU. RESULTS: With the…PR designs, for 38 of 48 pairwise comparisons for the twelve major OPCQ indicators, CVCC staff rankings are significantly lower than those by staff on the other four units. For 47 of 48 pairwise comparisons for the twelve major OPCQ indicators, NICU, ICC, Med/Surg, and PICU staff rankings for PR designs do not differ significantly from those for MB designs. Comments by staff on all five units target numerous PR OPCQ defects. CONCLUSION: Design, operation and management of the patient care environments on the five different PR units evaluated in this research confront a challenge in realizing OPCQ benefits that match experience with PR NICU designs in other contexts.
Keywords: Private patient care rooms, multi-bed patient care rooms, occupancy and patient care quality, human factors in ICU designs
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Mobility demands change due to differing life stages of car owners. Car sharing and retail markets seldom offer a possibility for customization by the user in contrast to the freedom of choice of an initial owner of a car. OBJECTIVE: The value creation of functional customization is investigated. Prior to a test with a concept design, different use case scenarios of car drivers are identified regarding the preferred storage location of their personal belongings in different situations. METHODS: A study with 70 subjects was conducted in order to evaluate the value added by functional…customization. Storage habits of users were investigated in general and in relation to a concept design offering the possibility for flexible storage. RESULTS: Smartphones, supplies, beverages and wallets were the most relevant belongings in all driving situations (commuting, leisure, vacation and special occasions) complemented by sports equipment. Smartphones and other valuables are stored within reach and sight of the user. The emotional responses, recorded before and after the test, subdivided in attraction, hope and joy indicated positive feedback. CONCLUSIONS: The ease of use and the design proved to be crucial product characteristics of individually adaptable storage solutions. Positive emotions are contributing factors for a user’s purchasing decision.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Passive posture variation in vehicles could enable variation in pressure distribution and muscle activity to counter physical fatigue from static seating resulting in more comfort. The difference in posture, however, should not lead to perceived discomfort and aspects of driving should be considered such as operating the steering wheel, pedals and vision in the mirrors. OBJECTIVE: This study sets out to find out how much postural variation occurs during the driving task and how sensitive is the human body to these changes. METHODS: The first experiment was user evaluation and assessed how and when…the changes in seat configuration were noticeable to the human body. The second experiment evaluated the influence of varying inclination of the backrest and the seat pan by the rating of typical aspects of driving. RESULTS: The differences in seat configuration during experiment 1, were so small that there was no consistency in the ratings for the same configuration. The most critical feature that restrains the posture is the location of the rear view mirror. CONCLUSIONS: The range-of-motion is defined as –1° to +1° for the seat pan and 0° to +1.5° for the backrest based on the results of experiment 2 because of the restraints of the driving task.