Need more evidence that workplace windows enhance mental and physical well-being? If you do, you’ll be interested in a study spearheaded by Ivy Cheung, a neuroscience doctoral student at Northwestern University. Her team found that people “who had windows in the workplace slept an average of 47 more minutes per night compared to workers in offices without daylight exposure. They also . . . were more physically active, and reported better sleep quality and efficiency . . . .
Researchers at Northwestern have determined that it can be better to provide non-cash bonuses than monetary ones; which has implications for performance based enhancements to individual and group workspaces. Ma and Roese learned that “Less countable rewards can be more satisfying . . .
Per capita productivity increases as cities grow. Why? A research team has shown that when the populations of cities grow, people living there have more opportunities to interact face-to-face as travel infrastructure improves and this enhances performance.
Lin and team investigated the influence of interruptions on office worker stress levels. They learned that “Interruptions by others, or intrusions, are a common phenomenon in today’s workplaces. Intrusions can be disruptive for employees because they displace time required to complete job tasks (thereby increasing perceptions of workload).
Leigh Thompson, a distinguished professor at the Kellogg School of Management, recently discussed her new book, Creative Conspiracy: The New Rules of Breakthrough Collaboration, in a blog posting for the Harvard Business Review. Her extensive analyses of available data support the use of cave-and-commons office design. As she describes, workers perform best when they have the autonomy to select their workspace: “I am a big fan of cave-and-commons designs in offices — private spaces (caves) where one can work without being interrupt
Kemp and Williams analyzed business meetings in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). What they learned is useful to people developing work environments in the UAE and neighboring countries with similar business behavior. Kemp and Williams found that “the Gulf Arab region offers an eclectic mix of different cross-cultural interactions, when business meetings are being conducted. Using . . . data about [scheduled] meetings held in three large organizations, each with a diverse cross-cultural workforce . . .
Rodgers investigates the relationship between newsroom design and news reported through a case study of the Toronto Star workspace. His project is important because the link between the physical environment and the reporting of news is infrequently researched and reported news can have a significant influence on future events. Much of Rodgers’ text will sound familiar to people who have investigated other work environments: “The city desk is composed of circulations, proximities, and connections.
Operating rooms that are too noisy are just as difficult to work in as offices where ambient noise is too loud. Bush, Way, Long, Weighing, Ritchie, Jones, and Shinn investigated working in operating rooms: “Ambient background noise—whether it is the sound of loud surgical equipment, talkative team members, or music—is a patient and surgical safety factor that can affect auditory processing among surgeons and the members of their team in the operating room (OR) . . . .
Congdon and Gall present Steelcase’s recent research linking culture and design, which builds on the work of others, such as Geert Hofstede, in useful graphics at the web address noted in the citation, below. They describe their project succinctly: “Researchers at Steelcase, the office furniture company, have identified six dimensions of workplace culture that shape an office’s social dynamics . . . .
The Society of College and University Planning (SCUP) awarded its Chapman Prize to Susan Painter, Janice Fournier, Caryn Grape, Phyllis Grummon, Jill Morelli, Susan Whitmer, and Joseph Cevetello, and they used the prize money to research how libraries (and library design) can best serve current and potential users. SCUP quotes from their soon to be released monograph, “Research on Learning Space Design: Present State, Future Direc