Increase Productivity/Performance

Continued Effects of Blue Light (07-14-16)

A research team lead by Alkozei has learned that being in blue light continues to affect how our minds work—experiencing blue light has been linked to higher alertness and quicker decision making—even after we leave a blue lit area.  As a press release issued by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports “a short single exposure to blue light for half an hour is sufficient to produce measurable changes in reaction times and more efficient responses (answered more items correctly per second) . . . after the light exposure had ended. . . .

More on Activity While Working (07-11-16)

Pilcher and Baker wanted to learn more about the relationship between moving in some way while working and professional performance.  They had people participating in their study work on a desktop while pedaling (at a FitDesk, described below) and also at a traditional sedentary desk.  The researchers found that when study “participants pedaled the stationary bicycle at a slow pace (similar in exertion to a normal walking pace) while working. . . cognitive task performance did not change between the two workstations.

Nurturing Feeling-of-Knowing (06-28-16)

Feeling-of-knowing (FOK) is that impression we all get from time to time that we know something, such as the answer to a question someone is asking us, but that we can’t recall that information at the time we’re being asked for it. Hanczakowski and team found that “FOK judgments increase in the presence of a familiar environmental context.”   Familiar in this case means one that has been experienced (seen, for example) in the past.

Designing for Human Contact (06-17-16)

Designing opportunities to interact with humans into service centers is a good idea.  In a study of tourist offices, Arana and colleagues found that “the human factor is . . . key in providing satisfaction to visitors. . . . visitors place higher values on information services received through personal interaction than through automated processes based on new technology.”

Jorge Arana, Carmelo Leon, Maria Carballo, and Sergio Gil.  2016.  “Designing Tourist Information Offices:  The Role of the Human Factor.” Journal of Travel Research, vol. 55, no. 6, pp. 764-773.

Stressful Offices: Ramifications (06-16-26)

Grzywacz’s research confirms the negative repercussions of stressors in workplaces.  He found that cognitive function and memory are degraded in offices with more physical hazards.  Environmental hazards/stressors were broadly defined and studied using two sets of measures: “The first set of items assessed the frequency of exposure to hazardous conditions, the likelihood of injury as well as the degree of injury resulting from the exposure, if an injury occurred. . . . The second set of items assessed exposure to environmental conditions.

Supporting Team Work (06-03-16)

Confirming previous research, Greenway, Thai, Haslam, and Murphy report that a group’s performance is tied to the “decoration” of the spaces where they work. The research team told participants in a study that they conducted that they were members of a red team and then had them personalize their work area with a poster they developed and red decorations. A rival group was identified as a blue team. Then, the test groups were moved to another space with red decorations, with blue decorations, or with none at all.

Option to Stand and Performance (06-02-16)

Garrett’s team confirms the value of adding sit-stand desks to work areas.  They report that “When deciding on adoption of stand-capable workstations, a major concern for employers is that the benefits, over time, may not offset the initial cost of implementation. . . . This study compared objective measures of productivity over time between a group of stand-capable desk users and a seated control group in a call center. . . .

Designing for Lines (05-31-16)

New research provides insights on whether you should provide space for multiple lines or a single one in areas where people will spend time waiting in queues.  A single line feeding multiple service providers is not as efficient as a set of lines.  Niederhoff, Shunko, and Rosokha report in an article to be published in Management Science that “when customers wait in one long line and go to the next available server, those servers work more slowly than when servers each have their own queue.”  Procedures can help correct this situation, however:  “there are system design issues and


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