Increase Productivity/Performance

Build in Spaces for Naps (03-27-15)

Research by Studte and her team confirms that napping during the day has benefits.  Their findings support the development of spaces for napping at workplaces, schools, healthcare facilities, etc.  The scientists report that “Many studies have shown that sleep improves memory performance, and that even short naps during the day are beneficial.”  Their new research confirms the positive effects of sleeping for short periods of time (in other words, napping) on memory and learning.

Weather and Workplace Performance (03-20-15)

Weather can create challenges that are difficult for workplace design to overcome.  A press release issued by the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management indicates that “The best time to invest in U.S. Treasury securities may be spring, thanks to seasonal variations in investor risk tolerance linked to depression. A team of finance researchers found that the monthly return on those securities showed an average swing of 80 basis points between October –when returns peaked –and April, when they bottomed out.

Hearing Classical Music Makes Some of Us Different, Literally (03-16-15)

Kanduri and his research team learned that listening to classical music affects the activity of some of our genes if we have an aptitude for music or we’ve had more than 10 years of music education.  The genes associated with dopamine production (which has been linked to feeling rewarded, for example), memory, and learning are more active when we’re listening to classical music if we have the aptitude for music or education noted earlier.

More on Distracting Conversations (03-04-15)

Need to know more about distracting conversations? Parmentier and Beaman learned that “Variations of the content, but not the rhythm, of the irrelevant speech stimuli reliably disrupted [thoughtful work] in all experiments. . . . regular [occurrence] of the irrelevant speech was significantly more disruptive to [thoughtful work] than irregular [occurrence].”

Art That’s Good for Brains and Brawn

Whether it’s subtle or dramatic, large or small, abstract or realistic, or something else entirely, visual art has a significant influence on the experience of being in a space.  What have researchers learned about how it can increase our mental and physical wellbeing?

Bad Weather’s Repercussions Aren’t Always Bad (02-27-15)

Bad weather can have positive repercussions.  Lee and her colleagues report that “bad weather increases individual productivity and that it does so by eliminating potential cognitive distractions resulting from good weather. When the weather is bad, individuals appear to focus more on their work than on alternate outdoor activities.”  Workplace designers are often charged with creating spaces that enhance performance; it seems one of the design elements they need to seriously consider is curtains.

Thermal Comfort in Schools Depends (02-16-15)

Data collected by de Dear and his team indicates that primary and secondary school students’ assessments of the temperatures in schools depends on their life experiences.  As the researchers detail “An indoor operative temperature of about 22.5°C was found to be the students’ neutral and preferred temperature, which is generally cooler than expected for adults. . . . Despite the lower-than-expected neutrality, the school children demonstrated considerable adaptability to indoor temperature variations. . . .

Treadmill Desks: More Positive Research (02-02-15)

More research, more reasons for treadmill desks.  Labonte-LeMoyne and her team report that “An experiment was conducted in which participants either sat or walked while they read a text and received emails. Afterward, all participants performed a task to evaluate their attention and memory. Behavioral, neurophysiological, and perceptual evidence showed that participants who walked had a short-term increase in memory and attention, indicating that the use of a treadmill desk has a delayed effect.