Maula and his team investigated the effect of slightly elevated temperatures on performance. In a lab mock-up of a “realistic work environment,” performance in a space at “29°C (84 degrees F) . . . [was compared to one at] 23°C (73 degrees F). . . . [after 3 and a half hours] slightly warm temperature caused concentration difficulties.”
DeLoach, Carter, and Braasch recently presented information at the annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America confirming that hearing nature sounds while working supports human performance. They report on “work by Braasch and his graduate student Mikhail Volf, which showed that people's ability to regain focus improved when they were exposed to natural sounds versus silence or machine-based sounds.”
People have been working at home since they’ve been working. Holliss reviews the evolution of home workplaces. Her work provides an interesting international context for the current development of new homes and at-home workplaces.
Frances Hollis. 2015. Beyond Live/Work: The Architecture of Home-Based Work. Routledge: New York.
Hoff and Oberg interviewed office-working digital artists to learn more about how they believe the physical work environment can support their creative work. The researchers found that “The physical work environment was considered to offer three types of support for creative work for the participants: functional, psychosocial and inspirational. Creative processes would find better breeding ground if functional support, such as adequate lighting and tools, and psychosocial support, such as spatial possibilities for both privacy and communication, were provided.
When to ditch the deserts
Research on working at treadmill desks continues to roll in. Larson and his colleagues have learned that “Walking on a treadmill desk may result in a modest difference in total learning and typing outcomes relative to sitting, but those declines may not outweigh the benefit of the physical activity gains from walking on a treadmill.”
What are the implications of being distracted/interrupted while reading? Foroughi and his colleagues report that “to fully comprehend a text, individuals . . . need to do more than recognize or recall information that has been presented in the text at a later time. Reading comprehension often requires individuals to connect and synthesize information across a text (e.g., successfully identifying complex topics such as themes and tones) and not just make a familiarity-based decision (i.e., recognition). . . . interruptions disrupted reading comprehension. . . .
Research Design Connections has previously reported on links between our posture and the way we think, as discussed here. Additional research by Ranehill confirms that there is “a significant effect of power posing on self-reported feelings of power.” Power poses open up the trunk of the body; an example of a power pose is leaning back in a chair like a recliner.
Wearing formal clothing has cognitive implications. Space design, among other factors, can support wearing formal clothing. Sieplan and his crew found that “wearing formal clothing enhances abstract cognitive processing. . . . The findings demonstrate that the nature of an everyday and ecologically valid experience, the clothing worn, influences cognition broadly, impacting the processing style that changes how objects, people, and events are construed.”
Tuning in wellbeing