Physical Work Environment as a Managerial Tool for Decreasing Job-Related Anxiety and Improving Employee-Employer Relations. Academic Article uri icon


  • The expected increase in healthcare needs resulting from the Affordable Care Act and the growing population of older citizens in the United States is challenging owners and operators of hospitals to improve quality of care and reduce operational costs. Meanwhile, studies have indicated a serious shortage in the healthcare workforce and have highlighted the critical role of employees' job-related attitudes and feelings. The main objective of this study was to test whether employees' evaluations of important environments within hospitals were significantly associated with their job-related attitudes and feelings, and whether this relationship varied across different demographic groups. About 700 healthcare professionals from 10 acute-care hospitals run by three healthcare organizations participated in this cross-sectional study. Structural equation modeling found that employees' evaluations of their physical work environment were significantly associated with lower rates of job-related anxiety, higher levels of job satisfaction, and increased rates of organizational commitment. Perceived organizational support was responsible for mediating part of these relationships, indicating that employees can perceive a healthy work environment as a sign of their organization valuing them and caring about their well-being. When distinguishing between different spaces, analysis found that satisfaction with rest areas and work spaces had the largest effect size, while the influence of patient areas was small. Employees newer to the facility and to the organization were more influenced by the physical work environment. This study provides preliminary evidence that facility design can be used as a managerial tool for improving employees' job-related attitudes and feelings and earning their commitment.

published proceedings

  • J Healthc Manag

author list (cited authors)

  • Sadatsafavi, H., Walewski, J., & Shepley, M.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Sadatsafavi, Hessam||Walewski, John||Shepley, Mardelle

publication date

  • January 2015