Practical tool to resolve important issues
Cognitive science research details how workplace design can optimize professional wellbeing and p
Stenling and colleagues investigated the effects of climbing stairs on mental performance and mood and their findings generally support design that encourages people to take the stairs. The researchers “examined the effects of stair-climbing intervals on subsequent cognitive performance and mood in healthy young adults [mean age 19]. . . . Participants visited the lab on two occasions, one week apart, and completed one control session (no exercise) and one stair-climbing session (3 x 1 min stair-climbing intervals) with cognitive performance and mood assessed at the end of each session. .
Design can support effective decision-making by providing access to places where people can prepare food and eat comfortably, at workplaces and other similar locations outside the home. Organizational policies and procedures are key for the effective use of these spaces. Benjamin Vincent and Jordan Skrynka determined that “hunger significantly altered people’s decision-making, making them impatient and more likely to settle for a small reward that arrives sooner than a larger one promised at a later date. . . .
As more and more people use standing desks, understanding how standing influences thinking becomes more important. Smith, Davoli, Knapp, and Abrams report that “Postural changes and the maintenance of postural stability have been shown to affect many aspects of cognition. . . . we examined the extent to which selective visual attention may differ between standing and seated postures in three tasks: the Stroop color-word task, a task-switching paradigm, and visual search.
Jamrozik and associates investigated how in-office window technology influences cognitive performance and other important aspects of worker experience. The team reports on the implications of using window-shading tools that allow daylight to pass through windows and people inside to see outdoors but curtail glare. Employees who participated in this study worked in all of the test conditions over a 14-week period doing their regular work tasks and for their entire workday. The performance and satisfaction of study participants experiencing the window technologies were compared to their per
Haapakangas and colleagues studied the experience of moving into an activity-based workplace (ABW). Over an extended period, at multiple offices, they evaluated via survey data “the effects of moving into an ABW on satisfaction with communication, on social relations (i.e., social support and social community) and on work demands (i.e., quantitative demands, emotional demands and work pace) 3 months and 12 months after the relocation. . . . Satisfaction with communication and the sense of belonging to a community had decreased 3 and 12 months after the relocation.
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More nuanced understanding of at-work experiences
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. . . .