Increase Productivity/Performance

Distracting Sounds (05-18-16)

Recent research probes distracting sounds.  Parmentier studied “rare and unexpected changes in an otherwise repetitive or structured sequence of task-irrelevant sounds (deviant sounds among standard sounds).”  He learned that “Although this deviance distraction effect has generally been thought of as an involuntary and adaptive phenomenon, recent studies questioned this view by reporting that deviance distraction is observed when sounds predict the occurrence of a target stimulus (informative sounds) but that it disappears when sounds do not convey this information (uninformative sounds).

Workplace Wellness Programs Work (04-13-16)

Designers are often asked to design spaces that support workplace wellness.  New research indicates that efforts to encourage wellness pay off.  Goetzel and his team learned that “Stock performance of C. Everett Koop National Health Award winners . . . was measured over time and compared with the average performance of companies comprising the Standard and Poor's (S&P) 500 Index. The Koop Award portfolio outperformed the S&P 500 Index.

Lunchtime Walks Pay Off (04-08-16)

There are clear benefits to getting previously sedentary employees up and walking at lunchtime.  Thogersen-Ntoumani and colleagues completed a study during which “Physically inactive employees [getting less than the recommended amount of exercise per week, average age 48, 93% of the 56 subjects were female] from a large university in the UK. . . . partook in three weekly 30-min lunchtime group-led walks for 10 weeks. . . .

Benefits of Enhanced Ventilation (04-01-16)

There are clear benefits to enhanced building ventilation.  MacNaughton and colleagues report that they “estimated the energy consumption and associated per building occupant costs for office buildings in seven U.S. cities, representing different climate zones for three ventilation scenarios (standard practice (20 cfm/person), 30% enhanced ventilation, and 40 cfm/person) and four different heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system strategies (Variable Air Volume (VAV) with reheat and a Fan Coil Unit (FCU), both with and without an energy recovery ventilator). . .

Standing/Active Working: Research Review (03-22-16)

Shrestha and colleagues reviewed the research on the implications of standing or being active while doing knowledge work.  They determined that “A sit-stand desk alone compared to no intervention [not having a sit-stand desk] reduced sitting time at work. . . . considerably less than the two to four hours recommended by experts. Sit-stand desks did not have a considerable effect on work performance, musculoskeletal symptoms or sick leave. . . .The effects of active [walking or pedaling] workstations were inconsistent.”

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