Experience, Personality and Noise (12-04-17)

Experience may influence how distracting it is to hear background noise.  Kou and team share that “Previous research has shown that background auditory distractors (music and sound/noise) have a more severe impact on introverts’ performances on complex cognitive tasks than extraverts (Dobbs, Furnham, & McClelland, 2011).”  The Kuo-led group partially replicated Dobbs and team’s study, with Chinese instead of English participants, finding that when “Chinese participants . . . carried out three cognitive tasks with the presence of Chinese pop songs, background office noise, and silence.

Workers Desires: Sitting, Standing, Walking (11-14-17)

Wallmann-Sperlich and her team probed desk-based workers’ desires to sit, stand, and walk while working; it’s important to remember that desires don’t always align with what should happen in any particular situation.  The researchers report that their “aim was to investigate and compare actual and desired proportions of time spent sitting, standing, walking, and doing physically demanding tasks at work reported by desk-based workers. . . . data were collected from German desk-based workers. . . .

Types of Co-Working Spaces (11-07-17)

Kojo and Nenonen analyzed co-working spaces near Finland’s capital and categorized them into groups based on “their main characteristics.”  The duo identified “six co-working space typologies . . . : public offices, third places, collaboration hubs, co-working hotels, incubators and shared studios. The categorization was made by using two axes: business model (for profit and non-profit) and level of user access (public, semi-private and private).”  The researchers feel their findings are useful because they “provide a viewpoint on how co-working spaces can be categorized. . . .

Workplace Rudeness (11-02-17)

It is important to design workplaces that reduce the likelihood of rude behavior, for more than the obvious reasons.  It is particularly important to smooth interactions that might occur during morning hours, for example as people arrive or get early cups of coffee.  The Woolum team found that if employees are relatively less confident and emotionally stable “a single exposure to [witnessed, i.e., visually observed] rudeness in the morning can contaminate employees’ perceptions of subsequent social interactions leading them to perceive greater workplace rudeness throughout their workday. .

Selecting Snacks (10-23-17)

Snack type matters; they’re not all equally distracting.  Corbin Cunningham and Howard Egeth report in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review that “Sugary, fatty foods are a distraction – more so than low-calorie foods and everyday objects – even if you are busy with a task that isn’t remotely related to food, or are not even thinking about eating.”  Designers can apply this information about snacks in their own break areas and also share it with clients who have hired them to design in wellness supports.


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