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 . . . .
Environmental psychologists established long ago that walking in green spaces is psychologically restorative. Research in the UK with portable EEG machines has quantified that benefit: “a body of restorative literature focuses on the potential benefits to emotional recovery from stress offered by green space and 'soft fascination'’ . . . .
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).
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.
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
Research continues to pour in indicating that green spaces in urban environments are a good idea. White, Alcock, Wheeler, and Depledge found that “People who live in urban areas with more green space tend to report greater well-being than city dwellers who don’t have parks, gardens, or other green space nearby. . . . Examining data from a national longitudinal survey of households in the United Kingdom, . . .
Fitzgerald and Danner summarize some of the ways that our evolutionary past should influence current office design; a topic that is discussed regularly here (for example, https://researchdesignconnections.com/pub/arguments-biophilic-architecture).
People developing vacation spots, or other sorts of places, need a good understanding of how design can help humans restock their mental energy.