Increase Productivity/Performance

Preferred Temperature, Actual Temperature, and Performance (04-17-14)

Sellaro and her team have learned that our professional performance is best when we’re in a space that aligns with the temperatures we prefer.  This finding fine tunes knowledge derived from previous studies investigating the optimal temperature for workplaces.  The researchers determined that “subjective preferences are more reliable predictors of performance than objective temperature and that performing under the preferred temperature may counteract ‘ego-depletion’ (i.e., reduced self-control after an exhausting cognitive task) when substantial cognitive control is required.”&n

Working All Night (03-31-14)

Scent has almost magical effects on the way our minds work.  Ritter and his team have learned that when we smell the same odor while sleeping that we did when we started to work on a problem, we develop more creative solutions (i.e., ones that are both more novel and useful) to that problem.  It’s relatively easy to make sure that you smell the same smell while working and sleeping – a common essential oil can be placed both in your bedroom and your office.  In the words of the researchers: “we investigate[d] whether one can actively enhance the beneficial effect of sleep on

Which Green Roof Should You Build – Or Look At? (03-14-14)

Green roofs are getting to be relatively common in cities.  People renting offices and homes now often can choose between several green roof views.  Lee and her team have learned that “all living [green] roofs were preferred over the concrete roof; however preferences differed according to vegetation characteristics. The most preferred and restorative living roof had taller, green, grassy and flowering vegetation, while lower-growing red succulent vegetation was least preferred.”  So, rooftop “prairies” are preferred and also more restorative. 

Treadmill Use Can Boost Productivity (03-11-14)

Researchers have learned that walking on a treadmill (instead of sitting in an office chair) while working can increase employee productivity.  In a study conducted over a one-year period, the team found that “the treadmills had a significantly favorable impact on both physical activity and work performance.”  A press release released by the University of Minnesota states that “Productivity measures were derived from employee and supervisor surveys of quantity of performance, quality of performance, and quality of interaction with co-workers.”

More Evidence Greening Schoolyards a Good Idea (03-07-14)

Previous research has shown that educational advantages accrue when vegetation is visible through school windows (for example, see Designing for Play).  Kelz and her colleagues “investigated the influence of a redesign (greening) of a [middle school] schoolyard on pupils’ [average age 14.4 years] physiological stress, psychological well-being, and executive functioning.” Research was conducted at three schools in rural Austria and “The renovated schoolyard significantly diminished pupils’ physiolog

Lights at Work (03-03-14)

Dangol and colleagues have comprehensively assessed the color and intensity of lights that workers prefer.  Study participants working on office-related tasks “preferred 4000K to 6500 K at a light level of 500 lux and the light level of 500 lux over 300 lux.”  At both 4000K and 6500K, LED lighting was generally preferred to fluorescent lighting of the same color and intensity (fluorescent light was preferred at 6500K and 300 lux).