Hoendervanger and colleagues continue to study the experience of working in activity-based offices. They determined via field and lab studies that “Activity-based work environments are widely adopted; however, research shows mixed findings regarding privacy issues, satisfaction with the work environment, and task performance. . . . The results from both studies confirm that perceived [person-environment] fit is a function of activity, work setting, and personal need for privacy, with indirect effects on satisfaction with the work environment . . . and task performance. . . .
Schertz and Berman reviewed published studies exploring the cognitive repercussions of being exposed to nature. They determined that “exposure to a variety of natural stimuli (vs. urban stimuli) consistently improves working memory performance. . . . Overall, there is compelling evidence to support the advice of Thoreau and Murray to spend time in nature. Exposure to natural environments has been shown to improve performance on working memory, cognitive-flexibility, and attentional-control tasks.
Our attitudes towards nature evolve over our lives. Meidenbauer and colleagues found that “Children aged 4-11 years do not show the preference for nature [over urban spaces] found in adults [children demonstrated robust preferences for urban over natural environments]. With age, children’s preferences for urban over natural environments decrease. More nearby nature is associated with fewer attention problems in children. The observed attentional benefits are unrelated to the children’s preferences. Children’s preferences were not linked to their home, school or play environments. . . .
Li, Chen, and Zhang investigated links between music tempo, fatigue, and attention. As they report, “drivers were enrolled in four sessions of real-road driving tests under the following four music conditions: no music, slow tempo, medium tempo and fast tempo. . . . Of the three tempos, medium-tempo music is the best choice to reduce fatigue and maintain attention for a long-distance driving. Slow-tempo music can temporarily boost the quality of attention, but after a long period of driving, it significantly deteriorates the driver’s levels of fatigue and attention.
Research by Pantzar and colleagues confirms the value of supporting employee efforts to exercise, via onsite exercise facilities, for example. The investigators report that “Aerobic exercise influence cognition in elderly, children, and neuropsychiatric populations. . . . The sample consisted of . . .office workers. . . . A cognitive test battery (9 tests), assessed processing speed, working memory, executive functions and episodic memory. . . . Groups of moderate . . . and high . . . fitness outperformed the group of low . . .
Effects on employee bonds matter
Opinions of others affected
Brain performance affected by amount
Different times, different opinions