Transitional areas affect perception of workspaces and employee well-being: A study of underground and above-ground workspaces

Zheng Tan, Adam Charles Roberts, Eun Hee Lee, Kian Woon Kwok, Josip Car, Chee Kiong Soh, George Christopoulos

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Workspace design affects occupational health and performance as well as overall mental health. Using standardized and customized questionnaires (N = 195), this paper examines the relatively unexplored relationship between mental health, fatigue at work and factors relating to satisfaction within the workspace. Such factors include the subjective assessment of architectural properties of transitional spaces leading to the office and underground vs above-ground locations. Lower perceived confinement in transitional spaces was associated with better mental health, lower levels of perceived workload, and lower work-related physical and emotional fatigue. These associations were stronger than those with the perceived confinement in the workspace itself. Underground workers reported lower levels of physical and emotional fatigue. Among the participants working in above-ground offices, effects were stronger for those with higher levels of (non-clinical) claustrophobia. The present study highlights the effects, so far less acknowledged, of transitional spaces on the mental and psychological health of employees in underground and above-ground offices and suggests specific design interventions to enhance employee well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106840
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020


  • Design aspects
  • Employee well-being
  • Mental health
  • Office
  • Transitional areas
  • Underground spaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


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