Ergonomics

March 27, 2020 — July 31, 2023

Figure 1: William Nattress, 1893, Public school physiology and temperance

1 Office layout

Quick summaries in the Huberman Lab, 5 Science-Based Steps to Improve Your Workspace. Some sound solid. They assert that the Cathedral effect (Meyers-Levy and Zhu 2007) should lead us to prefer high ceilings.

[…]ceiling height can influence how people approach problem solving. Depending on the nature of the problem, ceiling height can either undermine or enhance problem-solving performance. Noticeably low or noticeably high ceilings promote different types of cognition—high ceilings promote abstract thinking and creativity; low ceilings promote concrete, detail-oriented thinking.

I am skeptical. There are not many (any?) credible replications of the foundational study, and the study itself is vague and wishy-washy, so I would not trust it.

2 Noise and offices

Evidence seems to be that they are bad? The Truth About Open Offices. The Transparency Trap. Surviving an open-plan office.

Mueller, Liebl, and Martin (2019):

High speech intelligibility in open space offices leads to problems. As a result of the irrelevant sound effect it influences cognitive performance negatively. Roomacoustic measures do often not lead to improvements if an open space office design is to be maintained. For this reason a study was conducted to examine if active noise cancelling headphones influence cognitive performance and subjective feeling in an open space office. This was done with a cognitive task (serial recall) and a survey after every term. No significant difference between the condition with active noise cancelling headphones switched on and switched off as well as without headphones could be determined. However, active noise cancelling had an influence on subjective ratings. The background noise with active noise cancelling was rated as significantly less annoying, ability to concentrate significantly higher and the speaker distance was rated significantly larger in comparison with active noise cancelling switched off or without headphones

3 Standing desks

I am a fan, because sitting is for me a comfort trap. TBC

Figure 2

4 Exercises

CNN summarises the the no-cardio-worse-than-smoking-paper. TODO: actually read the real article properly as the CNN work could be better.

Jon Muller, Preventing Injury: 8 Best Hand and Wrist Exercises for Computer Users.

Maybe just get a real exercise regime.

Figure 3: Finally got my office chair just how I like it

5 Posture

6 References

Benden, Zhao, Jeffrey, et al. 2014. The Evaluation of the Impact of a Stand-Biased Desk on Energy Expenditure and Physical Activity for Elementary School Students.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Garrett, Benden, Mehta, et al. 2016. Call Center Productivity Over 6 Months Following a Standing Desk Intervention.” IIE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors.
Meyers-Levy, and Zhu. 2007. The Influence of Ceiling Height: The Effect of Priming on the Type of Processing That People Use.” Journal of Consumer Research.
Mueller, Liebl, and Martin. 2019. “Influence of Active-Noise-Cancelling Headphones on Cognitive Performance and Employee Satisfaction in Open Space Offices.” In.