Environmental psychologists have been saying for years that too much transparency (literally) in workplaces and elsewhere can create difficult situations. Ethan Bernstein, a professor of leadership and organizational behavior at Harvard, has reached similar conclusions after synthesizing many years of research done by himself and others. He describes the transparency paradox: “For all that transparency does to drive out wasteful practices and promote collaboration and shared learning, too much of it can trigger distortions of fact and counterproductive inhibitions.
Korpela and his team investigated restorative experiences at work. They report that “Increasing evidence shows that outdoor natural environments are more efficient in producing restoration than outdoor built environments. Anecdotal evidence shows that window views to natural elements buffer the negative impact of job stress on intention to quit; the more natural elements, the less the negative impact of job stress on turnover intentions.
Better support for learning
A study that will soon be published in Personnel Psychology, conducted by Gajendran, Harrison, and Delaney-Klinger, determined that telecommuting enhances performance overall and for some individuals more than others. Many current workplace design strategies require sets of employees to telecommute to work, at least occasionally. The researchers learned that “telecommuting is positively associated with improvements in task- and context-based performance, which refers to an employee’s organizational citizenship behavior, including their contributions toward creating a po
Health economists have identified a link between not driving to work and better mental health. A press release from the University of East Anglia reports that “Walking or cycling to work is better for people's mental health than driving to work. . . . people who stopped driving and started walking or cycling to work benefited from improved wellbeing [note, study participants changed their mode of travel to work]. In particular, active commuters felt better able to concentrate and were less under strain than if they travelled by car.
Sleeping area design can make "good sleeps" more likely.
Maguire and his teammates have comprehensively assessed ergonomics-related problems experienced by people over 60 in their home kitchens. Their full report is available free at the web address noted below. Highlights of their study: “personal problems with reaching, bending, dexterity and sight were more likely to be experienced with increasing age while for specific tasks, ironing and cleaning created the most difficulty.”
Nieuwenhuis and his team have confirmed the value of adding plants to workplace environments.
This research is timely because, as the researchers describe, “Principles of lean office management increasingly call for space to be stripped of extraneous decorations so that it can flexibly accommodate changing numbers of people and different office functions within the same area.”
Ricciotti and her team introduced the sort of open workplaces that are relatively common in office settings at a medical practice and have drawn some preliminary conclusions. As they report, “The redesigned workspace accommodates more staff in a modernized, open, egalitarian setup. . . .
Tomovska-Misoska and her research team identify consistencies between the responses of Macedonian knowledge workers to the design of workplaces and those of employees in other countries. As the researchers report “A statistically significant difference was found in the satisfaction with privacy between employees in different office types and in the level of satisfaction with privacy between employees working in office shared with colleagues and open office. This result is similar to the findings of other studies as well (Danielsson, 2005 [a Swedish researcher]). . . .