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Choudhury has integrated findings from his and other’s working from anywhere-related research to detail emerging best practices; his article is available without charge at the web address noted below. Choudhury’s material is useful to anyone developing a working from anywhere program or looking for insights into environments that support working from anywhere. As Choudhury states in the overview for his article, “The pandemic has hastened a rise in remote working for knowledge-based organizations. This has notable benefits: Companies can save on real estate costs, hire and utilize talent globally, mitigate immigration issues, and experience productivity gains. . . . Workers get geographic flexibility (that is, live where they prefer to), eliminate commutes, and report better work/life balance. However, concerns persist regarding how WFA affects communication, including brainstorming and problem-solving; knowledge sharing; socialization, camaraderie, and mentoring; performance evaluation and compensation; and data security and regulation.”
Prithwiraj Choudhury. 2020. “Our Work-from-Anywhere Future.” Harvard Business Review (online version), https://hbr.org/2020/11/our-work-from-anywhere-future
Vink and colleagues have thoroughly studied how physical comfort is evaluated in different countries. They report that “A questionnaire was sent to participants out in nine countries (Brazil, Canada, the USA, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands). . . . All countries score the comfort of a luxurious bed higher than a simple bed, first-class seats higher than economy class and all countries rate the comfort lower when the duration of sitting increases. The study suggests that in the USA and Canada softer beds, hammocks, more luxurious seats and softer pillows are scored as more comfortable compared with the other countries. There are indications that China and Germany prefer a harder mattress than in the other countries. For pillows, the differences between countries are large, which might show that much is influenced by habitude or hesitation to use something new. The Asian countries score the comfort of a brace neck pillow higher.”
Peter Vink, Shabila Anjani, Sumalee Udomboonyanupap, Golnoosh Torkashvand, Thomas Albin, Symone Miguez, Wenhua Li, Christian Reuter, and Amalia Vanacore. 2021. “Differences and Similarities in Comfort and Discomfort Experience in Nine Countries in Asia, the Americas and Europe.” Ergonomics, vol. 64, no. 5, https://doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2020.1853248
Erkan investigated how temperature influences “architectural liking.” Study participants experienced “a virtual reality environment at three different temperatures (15°C, 22°C, 30°C). . . . An EEG device was used to determine the cognitive activities of the participants during space navigation. In addition, an eye-tracking device was used in virtual reality goggles to identify the areas that participants were looking at. It was determined that the architectural preferences of the people changed depending on the temperature of the space. . . . The architectural liking score average was at the lowest at the temperature of 30°C. The architectural liking average was higher at the 15°C temperature than the architectural liking at the 30°C, but lower than that of 22°C.”
Ilker Erkan. 2021. “Cognitive Response and How It Is Affected by Changes in Temperature.” Building Research and Information, vol. 49, no. 4, pp. 399-416, https://doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2020.1800439
Gheewalla and colleagues assessed how distracting different sorts of noises are. They learned, by having study participants complete reading comprehension tasks, that “Compared to working silence, white noise also reduced the efficiency of text comprehension.”
Fateema Gheewalla, Alastair McClelland, and Adrian Furnham. 2021. “Effects of Background Noise and Extraversion on Reading Comprehension Performance.” Ergonomics, vol. 64, no. 5, https://doi.org/10.1080/00140139.2020.1854352
Recently completed research confirms that teachers understand that classroom design influences learning outcomes. A press release from Universitat Oberta de Cataluny reports that “6 out of every 10 teachers [hold the opinion] that changing the design of the classroom is key to improving learning. . . . Currently, most teachers negatively rate the organization of the environment in their classroom. This is one of the findings of the study, whereby low or moderate scores were obtained regarding the suitability of current classrooms to serve as comprehensive learning spaces.” These findings are based on data collected from preschool, primary, and secondary school teachers working at 40 different schools.
“Six Out of Every 10 Teachers Believe That Changing the Design of the Classroom is Key to Improving Learning.” 2021. Press release, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-04/uodc-soo042921.php
Anyone who’s puzzled over similarities and differences between online and physical privacy issues will be intrigued by research done by Shariff and colleagues. This team reports that “Although people report grave concern over their data privacy, they take little care to protect it. We suggest that this privacy paradox can be understood in part as the consequence of an evolutionary mismatch: Privacy intuitions evolved in an environment that was radically different from the one found online. This evolved privacy psychology leaves people disconnected from the consequence of online privacy threats. . . . Human privacy intuitions emerged in an ancestral environment that differed radically from the digital environment in which those intuitions are now being tested. . . . . In this current environment, online interfaces befuddle intuitions that have otherwise allowed people to adaptively decide what to share, how much, and with whom.” The interesting points made by the Shariff team, linking primordial and current privacy concepts, are available, without charge, in the article at the web address noted below.
Azim Shariff, Joe Green, and William Jettinghoff. “The Privacy Mismatch: Evolved Intuitions in a Digital World.” Current Directions in Psychological Science, in press, https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721421990355
Devlin and colleagues evaluated how classroom images seen by prospective college students influence their opinions of colleges and universities. Their findings are likely applicable both in this context and others. The Devlin-lead team found that when “participants read a scenario about a college too far away to visit and viewed a website picture of a seminar room (unrenovated or renovated) before responding to measures of classroom satisfaction and college academic life more broadly (e.g., student retention).. . . . Classroom status . . . significantly influenced estimates of first-year student retention . . . with higher estimates of retention for the renovated classroom.. . . images of the classroom environment can affect judgments beyond the classroom itself, including estimates of student retention and the quality of the faculty at the institution.” The Devlin group also shared that architects knowledgeable about the renovation reported that “‘the original arrangement consisted of mismatched tables with one row of plastic chairs around the tables and another at the perimeter of the room. . . . The new configuration consists of a large oval seminar table surrounded by comfortable, flexible chairs.’” The Devlin team also shares that Douglas and Gifford in 2001 reported that three classroom design elements seem to drive classroom evaluations “a view to the outdoors, seating comfort, and seating arrangement.”
Ann Devlin, Alaina Anderson, Sarah Hession-Kunz, and Amy Zou. “Is a Picture Always Worth 1000 Words? Website Images of Classrooms and Perceptions of the Institution.” Learning Environments Research, in press, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-021-09358-x
Researchers have assessed bird photos, looking for clues about preferred images and report that people prefer birds that are blue, just as they prefer blue in other contexts. Thommes and Hayn-Leichsenring share that they “collected over 20,000 photos of birds from the photo-sharing platform Instagram with their corresponding liking data. . . . The colors of the depicted bird . . . significantly affected the liking behavior of the online community, replicating and generalizing previously found human color preferences. . . . There is a solid body of research on human color preferences indicating that blueish objects are generally preferred over objects with yellowish hues. . . . This has been explained by ecological valence, for example, blue being linked to good things such as clear sky and clean water, whereas potentially harmful objects such as rotten food are often yellow (Palmer & Schloss, 2020). . . . results closely correspond with . . . color preferences that were previously reported for colored squares, but also for objects like furniture and clothing (Schloss et al., 2013).”
Katja Thommes and Gregor Hayn-Leichsenring. 2021. “What Instagram Can Teach Us About Bird Photography: The Most Photogenic Bird and Color Preferences.” i-Perception, vol. 12, no. 2, https://doi.org/10.1177/20416695211003585
Adding augmented reality experiences can increase sales. Tan, Chandukala, and Reddy report, in a study published in the Journal of Marketing,that “AR transforms static objects into interactive, animated three-dimensional objects, helping marketers create fresh experiences that captivate and entertain customers. . . . . AR is also an effective medium to deliver content and information to customers. . . . AR can also be used to provide in-store wayfinding and product support. . . . AR also helps users visualize how products would appear in their actual consumption contexts to assess product fit more accurately prior to purchase. . . . Retailers selling premium products may also leverage AR to improve decision comfort and reduce customers’ hesitation in the purchase process.”
“Press Release from the Journal of Marketing: Augmented Reality in Retail and Its Impact on Sales.” 2021. Press release, American Marketing Association, https://www.ama.org/2021/04/20/press-release-from-the-journal-of-marketi...
Research completed by Bekiroglu and teammates indicates the value of incorporating opportunities for flexibility and movement into higher-education classrooms. The team report that their research determined that “(a) flexible room layout and movable furniture enabled participants to create settings that could support students’ group interactions; (b) flexible room layout and movable tools enabled people to move around to enhance student–to–student and teacher–to–student interaction; and (c) through the movement of furniture and tools and movement of people, participants were able to easily transition between different activities. The easy movement of tools and furniture widens the range of available classroom configurations to optimize engagement opportunities. Similarly, the flexibility of the classroom allows for the relatively easy movement of people. Our data suggest that such flexibility can facilitate interaction and engagement among students and instructors to create opportunities to promote both cognitive and emotional engagement.”
Saliha Bekiroglu, Crystal Ramsay, and Jenay Robert. “Movement and Engagement in Flexible, Technology-Enhanced Classrooms: Investigating Cognitive and Emotional Engagement from the Faculty Perspective.” Learning and Environments Research, in press, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-021-09363-0