Links between different office spaces, remote work and sickness absences before and after the coronavirus pandemic

As hybrid work is becoming more common and office spaces are being developed, new information is needed on the effects of remote work and different workspaces on well-being. In this project, we examine the links between remote work, the experience of the work environment, well-being at work and sickness absences in different office spaces. The project provides information to support the development of workspaces and remote work in information work.




Multispace offices are modern and space-efficient work environments in which employees can use different workspaces suitable for different purposes. Typically, there are no personal work stations and the space is changed as needed. Moving from one's own room to a multispace office is a common trend in Finland, for example, in expert organizations.

There has been very little research on the impact of modern work spaces, such as multispace offices, on well-being at work and sickness absences. The growth of remote work and the diversification of work are also closely related to multispace offices becoming more common, but previous studies have not examined workspaces and remote working in the same context. In previous studies, the effects of changes in a work environment on well-being have not been assessed over several years.

This issue is all the more topical as both remote work and office spaces are undergoing a major transformation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The project aims to

  • examine the links between short sickness absences and remote work in organizations that have moved from different workspaces to a multispace office
  • compare different workspace solutions in terms of short sickness absences and the amount of remote work, experience of the work environment and well-being at work
  • examine the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on remote work, short sickness absences and the links between these
  • explore how experiences of workspaces are linked to self-assessed work ability and well-being at work

Materials and techniques

The links between remote work and sickness absences are examined by utilizing data from employers' own working time monitoring and HR systems accumulated over several years. The data will be used to investigate the development of remote work and short sickness absences for the period from before the coronavirus pandemic until the end of 2022. Particular attention will be paid to the effects of moving to a multispace office on the amount and relationships of remote work and sickness absences. In addition, information is collected through surveys and condition studies in order to obtain more detailed information about the conditions of the work environment and the perceived well-being at work, work ability and health. Five workplaces will participate in the project.

Results and effectiveness

The project provides information to support the development of workspaces and remote work. Results will be available in 2023.

The results will be published in international scientific journals and communicated in various seminars, events, newspaper interviews and articles as well as in social media.

Our experts

Annu Haapakangas

Annu Haapakangas

Projektipäällikkö, erikoistutkija

Annu.Haapakangas [at]
+358 30 474 7521

Research group

Annina Ropponen, Elina Tulenheimo-Eklund, Suvi Hirvonen, Virpi Ruohomäki, Kari Reijula, Maria Hirvonen ja Jukka Kärkimaa


The Finnish Work Environment Fund, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and the participating organisations.