Makkonen and colleagues studied how standing desks influenced the at-work experiences of employees at a software company. They determined that, among the employees of the Finnish software company where they collected data, “the usage of standing instead of sitting workstations results in only modest promotions of physical activity, does not have an effect on mental alertness . . . decreases musculoskeletal strain in the neck and shoulders, although increasing it in the legs and feet.” Using standing desks didn’t significantly affect employees’ satisfaction with their workstations.
Promote Physical Health/Improve Health Outcomes
When people have access to showers and changing rooms, are they more likely to ride a bicycle or walk to work? A research team headed by Biswas analyzed data collected from over 53,000 people who answered questions on the 2007 – 2008 Canadian Community Health Survey, and determined that “Compared with younger ages, workers 50 to 75 years old were more likely to cycle to work if WS/CR [showers and changing rooms] were available.” So, older individuals were more likely to ride their bicycles to work when WS/CR were available but people 49 years old or younger were not more likely to ride a
New research indicates how important it is to block the flow of environmental sound (from aircraft, trucks, trains, etc.) into buildings and to reduce outside noise levels via traffic routing/management, building orientation, etc. Munzel and his team report that “Noise has been found associated with annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, and impaired cognitive performance. . . . studies have found that environmental noise is associated with an increased incidence of arterial hypertension, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke. . . .
New research indicates the best sorts of exercise opportunities to provide to employees and other groups. A press release from the British Psychological Society, reporting on the work of John Hackston, states that “The effectiveness of someone’s exercise regime may depend on their individual personality type. . . . [data collected via surveys determined that] people with extraverted personality types were more likely to prefer exercising at the gym.
O’Hara and her team investigated macrocognition in pediatric intensive care units. Macrocognition is a scientific term for thinking done in the real world by real people; the alternative is thinking that study participants do in laboratories. For more on macrocognition, see this brief article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macrocognition
More evidence that design affects stress
Crowding is a subjective experience, in the same situation some people may feel crowded while others won’t. When we do feel crowded, we eat differently than we do when we don’t. Hock and Bagchi completed “six studies showing that crowding increases calorie consumption. These effects occur because crowding increases distraction, which hampers cognitive thinking and evokes more affective processing. When consumers process information affectively [emotionally], they consumer more calories.” When they feel crowded and are “given a choice between several different options, people select an
Having parks near workplaces where employees can walk for 15 minutes at lunchtime can be good for business—and so can creating an at-work space where people can do relaxation exercises. A Sianola-lead team reports that “park walk . . . and relaxation . . . groups were asked to complete a 15-min exercise during their lunch break on 10 consecutive working days. Afternoon well-being. . . [was] assessed twice a week before, during, and after the intervention, altogether for 5 weeks. . . . park walks at lunchtime were related to better concentration and less fatigue in the afternoon. . . .
People interested in developing health-promoting cities gathered in London for the first Healthy
Environmental cues encourage us to eat in particular ways. Joyner, Kim, and Gearhardt found that “In a cue-rich compared to neutral environment, (a) wanting [to eat was] greater whereas liking [of food] . . . remain[ed] the same, (b) feelings of hunger [were] greater, and (c) food consumption [was] greater.” The cue-rich environment tested was designed to bring the experience of being in a fast food restaurant to mind: it “included . . . booths. . . . [and] Menu boards with images . . . projected on large television screens. . . .