When Neuroscience Meets Office Optimization

Employers are looking for any advantage, including office design, as competition for employees and ideas grows. Major companies such as Amazon, Google and Samsung are turning to neuroscience experts to learn more about how design affects human biology, and how to maximize comfort and productivity with attention to details such as diet and color theories. Here’s a look at how offices could make people more productive in the future.

Sound Sensitivity

The human voice is a provokes the strongest emotional response out of the sounds we hear. Voices in excess of 55 decibels, (the volume of the average phone call) can be the source of stress. Conversations that only include one half can be even more distracting, forcing the brain to fill in the gaps in the dialogue.

An environment with multiple sound environments like outdoor gardens, soundproof spaces, quiet rooms and phone booths can help alleviate this problem. Nature sounds, such as the waterfall in Amazon Sphere’s, can offer more focus with soothing white noise.

Plants can also help improve focus as well, making people less prone to emotional outbursts by projecting a soothing effect, even in pictures. Some plants even give off antiviral, immune-boosting chemicals called phytoncides that improve health.

The Power of Color

Neuroscience has shown that open spaces promote creative thinking while close quarters allow for focus. Specific colors can enhance or encumber these abilities. Design can assist this by providing focus booths as well as high ceilings and outdoor views that can promote brainstorming.

Get Moving 

Science shows that even just 30 minutes of aerobic activity can promote executive function and reduce stress, and promote executive function. A floor plan that encourages physical activity with stairs over elevators can help. Some places even offer gym memberships or yoga classes to employees.

Eat right 

Diets rich in fruits, nuts and vegetables, what is considered the Mediterranean diet, have been shown to promote cognitive function, including executive function (problem-solving) and impulse control. Adding almonds, blueberries, and other fresh, healthy snacks can improve employee performance.