Wednesday, 31 October 2012

A preliminary study of cognitive failures in open plan offices

an article by Brian Purdey (Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia) and David Leifer (University of Sydney, Australia) published in Facilities Volume 30 Issue 11/12 (2012)


The purpose of this paper is to describe the application of a new method using instruments with increased ability to objectively assess and quantify the performance impacts on office workers in built environment settings.
A Distractibility Index (DI) was calculated for sample employees, who then used a computer-based instrument in two settings to evaluate cognitive impairment
There was measured cognitive impairment in higher distracting work environments. There is potential to use DI to predict performance detriments and aid better workplace design/management.
Research limitations/implications
The study employed only a small sample size. The level of noise and other distractions in the settings studied need to be measured objectively. There is a need to differentiate between various sources of distraction in terms of their impact on cognitive impairment.
Practical implications
The findings of this paper can help to improve workplace performance, with less reliance on physical design solutions.
Workplace performance evaluations typically use subjective measures and self-assessments. Modern work is increasingly cognitive, and hence new computer-based and more objective tools are required. The tool used in this research has been highly validated in other applications.

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