Increase Productivity/Performance

Office Noise (01-27-15)

Pierrette and colleagues, while developing a survey that can be used to assess worker response to the soundscape in their workplace, determined that “It is currently accepted that noise is one of the most important annoyance factors in open-space offices. However, noise levels measured in open [work] spaces . . . rarely exceed 65 dB(A). . . . The majority of . . .  respondents consider that the ambient noise level in their environment is high. . . .

Beware of . . . Doorways (01-20-15)

Research by Lawrence and Peterson again links passing through doorways and forgetting.  Lawrence and Peterson conducted two experiments: “Participants familiarised themselves with both real (Experiment 1) and virtual (Experiment 2) environments which served as the setting for their mental walk. They were then provided with an image to remember and were instructed to imagine themselves walking through the previously presented space.

The Hazards of Cell Phone Separation (01-05-15)

New research indicates that separating people from their cell phones can be problematic and throws into question the value of “no phones present” meetings. It should further encourage the development of distraction minimizing furniture, such as tabletops with niches that allow phone owners to see that they have an incoming call but doesn’t share this information with others nearby. Clayton, Leshner, and Almond have  “found that cell phone separation can have serious psychological and physiological effects on iPhone [cell phone] users, including poor performance on cognitive tests.

Workplace Design => User Performance

The design of a workplace affects the quality of the work done by the people in it.  Some of these effects are more direct and others are more subtle.

Weather and Personality Measurements (12-15-14)

Design is increasingly being customized for users based on individual differences, such as personality.  Researchers have learned that weather conditions can influence scores on “personality self-ratings. . . . self-ratings for some personality domains differed depending on the weather conditions on the day the inventory was completed. When compared with corresponding self-ratings collected under mixed weather conditions, ratings for . . . Openness to Experience were significantly lower on rainy days and ratings for Conscientiousness were significantly lower on sunny days.”

Satisfaction and Productivity at Work (12-11-14)

Schwartz and Porath surveyed 19,000 employed people to learn what those individuals thought increased their work-related satisfaction and performance.  The researchers found “that people feel better and perform better and more sustainably when four basic needs are met: renewal (physical); value (emotional), focus (mental) and purpose (spiritual). . . . The opportunity and encouragement to intermittently rest and renew our energy during the work day serves as an antidote to the increasing overload so many of us feel. . . .