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Do You Know About The Science of Work?

By Pranjal Sharma
February 03, 2024 11:14 IST
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'By integrating data, research, and new insights, we are designing work environments that foster innovation, collaboration, and wellbeing.'

IMAGE: Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes.
Photograph: Anushree Fadnavis/Reuters

In the post-pandemic era, the concept of the workplace continues to evolve rapidly.

Even though the practice of hybrid work has become the norm, employees and employers remain dissatisfied.

Various experiments continue to be conducted to find the right balance between 'work from home' and on-premise teams.

Employers feel that people who are in a common office tend to perform better and deepen the company's performance.

JLL, the real estate services company, is using neuroscience-based data to better understand the mindsets of professionals.

In a conversation during the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Susheel Koul, CEO, JLL Asia Pacific, shared the details of the project.

"We've embarked on the mission of creating a 'Science of Work'. Our aim is to understand and harness the unique creativity inherent in each individual,' Koul said.

"By integrating data, research, and new insights, we are designing work environments that foster innovation, collaboration, and wellbeing," Koul added.

"Our ultimate goal is to enable our employees and clients to do their best work, driving resilience, productivity, and success in an ever-changing world," he said.

JLL said its workplace neuroscience programme studied the effect of hybrid work habits on cognitive performance in a real-world setting.

"Our primary research's questions focused on matters relating to the realities of hybrid work, aiming to reveal how, and why, different work styles and settings might impact the performance and engagement of employees," said the study.

The study used electroencephalography (EEG) to measure the activity of the brain's cortex on working professionals.

The company said its technology partner, EMOTIV, trained sophisticated machine-learning algorithms to detect a series of cognitive states based on the raw EEG data from a participant.

Results showed a 10 per cent average increase in boredom when an individual's preferred creative work environment was incongruent with the actual condition.

This may lead to negative consequences for creative output and productivity, and could be particularly problematic in industries that rely heavily on creativity and innovation.

Even a small decrease in creative output can have a significant impact on the overall performance of a workplace, said the study.

JLL said that with greater hybrid flexibility, companies will have to re-purpose space in a workplace.

They will have to accommodate more specific workspaces and facilitate 'matching' team needs with available spaces.

Workplaces will have to be as flexible as the people they serve.

"Spatial computing is about to change not just the course of technology innovation, but also the way people work and live.

"Whereas desktop and mobile used screens as portals to the digital world, spatial will finally combine our disparate realities, fusing digital and physical together," said a recent report by Accenture.

"Apps built for this medium will let people immerse themselves in digital worlds with a physical sense of space, or layer content on top of their physical surroundings."

Companies will have to customise office spaces on a mass scale for different types of professionals and tasks.

An employee's personality may shape the kind of space they perform best in.

Instead of dull and boring cubicle farms, companies will increasingly have to create office space that wraps itself around the needs of a team.

The type of furniture, the colour of walls, windows and lighting are part of office redesigns shaped by technology.

Internet of things (IoT) in lighting ensures that brightness in an office matches employees' circadian rhythms, the natural changes that happen over the course of a day in the body.

As the day passes, flexible lighting systems change to match the hour of the day.

Companies will increasingly deploy technologies using neuroscience, artificial intelligence and IoT to ensure a worker-centric approach to productivity.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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Pranjal Sharma
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