Open Offices Are Bad for Productivity, Study Finds

iStock
iStock

The results of a new study from Oxford Economics should sound familiar to anyone working in a cubicle. As Forbes reports, working in an open office lowers employees' output as well as their morale. 

For their study, researchers surveyed over 1200 senior executives and non-executive employees about their workplace arrangements. While 53 percent of employees reported feeling less satisfied and less productive when they had to work through ambient noise, only 35 percent of executives felt the same way.

The disconnect between the perceptions of management and the people they employ was evident in other areas as well. Just 41 percent of employees said they have the necessary tools to filter out distractions, while 63 percent of executives felt that their employees had everything they needed. Fifty-two percent of employees described work/life balance as being very important to them. When employers were asked the same question about their team, only 34 percent of executives said that balance was a priority for their employees.

These discrepancies aren’t too surprising when you compare the work life of an executive to that of a lower-level employee. The study reveals that a majority of executives are equipped with tools that make it easy to do their jobs outside the office, while less than half of employees can say the same. The most drastic difference between the two groups is their physical workspace. Sixty-two percent of top-level workers have a private office—a privilege granted to just 14 percent of employees.

With so many executives lucky enough to have a quiet space to call their own, it makes sense that minimizing distractions was ranked last on their list of priorities when laying out an office. But when team productivity is at stake, poor office design is bad for everyone. Distractions can have such a negative impact, another study suggests employees may be better off working from home.

BioLite Has Designed a Headlamp That Won't Irritate or Slip Off Your Head

BioLite
BioLite

Headlamps are convenient in theory. Instead of fumbling with a flashlight or your phone in the dark, you can strap one to your head and walk your dog, do some late-night grilling, or venture around your campsite hands-free.

But in reality, the awkward design—with a bulky light that digs into your skin and slides down your forehead—cancels out much of the product's appeal. Luckily, it doesn't have to be this way, as the folks at BioLite have demonstrated with their reinvented headlamp.

The BioLite HeadLamp 330, which debuted on Kickstarter in 2018 and is now available on Amazon, promises to make you forget you're even wearing it. Inspired by modern wearables, BioLite has retooled various elements of the clunky traditional design to make it as comfortable as it is functional.

A man wearing a red HeadLamp 330
BioLite

The ultra-thin light sits flat against your skull, which means you won't have any painful marks in the middle of your forehead when you take it off. The band itself is made from a moisture-wicking fabric that feels good on your skin, even when you're working up a sweat. And unlike conventional headlamps, BioLite has redistributed the power source to the back of the head in its design, balancing the weight and taking care of any slippage issues.

As is the case with other BioLite products, technology is an essential part of the design. The 330-lumen lamp projects light up to nearly 250 feet in front of you. There are variable lighting settings, too: You can opt for either a white spot or floodlight, both with dimming options, or a strobe light feature; there's also a red floodlight. It can run for three and a half hours at maximum brightness or 40 hours at minimum brightness, and when it needs to be recharged, you can just plug it into a micro-USB source like a solar panel or powerbank.

Get your own BioLite Headlamp for $49 on Amazon. It's available in in ember red, ocean teal, sunrise yellow, or midnight gray.

Teal headlamp.
BioLite

Shanghai Is Now Home to the World’s Longest 3D-Printed Bridge

World's largest 3D-printed bridge in Shanghai, China.
World's largest 3D-printed bridge in Shanghai, China.
Tsinghua University

Small items like toys and shoes aren't the only things 3D printers can make. As a team of architects from China's Tsinghua University School of Architecture recently demonstrated, the machines can be used to print sturdy bridges large enough to span waterways.

As dezeen reports, at 86 feet in length, the new pedestrian bridge on a canal in Shanghai's Baoshan District is the longest 3D-printed bridge on Earth. Designed by the university's Zoina Land Joint Research Center for Digital Architecture (JCDA) and constructed by Shanghai Wisdom Bay Investment Management Company, it consists of 176 concrete units. The parts were printed from two robotic-arm 3D-printing systems over 19 days.

The 3D-printing technology cut down on costs as well as construction time. According to Tsinghua University, the project cost just two-thirds of what it would have using conventional materials and engineering methods.

Even though their approach was futuristic, the architecture team paid homage to a much older bridge in a different part of the country. The new bridge's arched structure is inspired by that of the 1400-year-old Anji Bridge in Zhaoxian, the oldest standing bridge in China (and the world's oldest open-spandrel arch bridge).

The bridge in Shanghai may be the longest 3D-printed bridge in the world, but it isn't the first. Last year, a 3D-printed steel bridge was unveiled in Amsterdam.

[h/t dezeen]

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