The purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss opportunities for health promotion through the workplace environment, adopting a “salutogenic” perspective of health which more explicitly focuses on factors that support human health and well-being, as opposed to factors which cause disease.
In the introduction, the salutogenic model of health and the Environmental Demands-Resources model are discussed, providing a conceptual framework to represent the workplace environment as a composite of pathogenic “demands” and salutogenic “resources”. Subsequently, a narrative review is performed to discuss the existing literature from the perspective of this novel framework, identifying environmental resources which might strengthen the three components of an employee’s “sense of coherence” (comprehensibility, manageability and meaningfulness), an individual orientation associated with more positive health outcomes.
Comprehensibility can be supported by effectively implementing a clear set of rules governing the use of the workplace. Manageability can be supported through biophilic design solutions, and through design which supports social cohesion and physical activity. Meaningfulness can be supported by recognising the importance of personal identity expression and through design which reinforces the employees’ sense of purpose.
The salutogenic perspective is a potentially valuable but relatively under-considered paradigm in workplace practice. The key contribution of this paper is to encourage researchers and practitioners to recognise the crucial role that an individual’s sense of coherence plays in supporting higher levels of physical and mental health, so that they increase their ability to provide truly “healthy” workplaces, capable of promoting health as well as minimising the risk of disease.
Roskams, M. and Haynes, B. (2020), "Salutogenic workplace design: A conceptual framework for supporting sense of coherence through environmental resources", Journal of Corporate Real Estate, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 139-153. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCRE-01-2019-0001
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