Women workplace

Clean workplaces, clear thoughts

Like it or not, you are a product of your environment and to some extent you reflect it. This might be unpalatable news if you live in a peat bog or work emptying pig intestines. It is an immutable law of the universe though that you become your environment; why else would pet owners resemble their pets? This Universal Law of Environmental Reflection has been illustrated once again in a new study showing that if you are in a dull and dirty workplace your cognitive function becomes dull too.

Those working in dull, uninteresting jobs also had worse cognitive functioning

In the new study, researchers analysed data drawn from 4963 adults (53 per cent of them female) aged 32 to 84 years. The subjects were all part of the Midlife in the United States Study (MIDUS). For each subject, the researchers gathered their employment status, place of work, job complexity, physical hazards in the workplace and workplace conditions. The subjects were then given tests over the telephone that measured episodic memory (ability to remember events, times and places), self-perceived memory and executive functioning (ability to control and use higher level cognitive and thinking skills).

The results showed that people working in dirtier environments had worse episodic memory and worse executive functioning. Those working in dull, uninteresting jobs also had worse cognitive functioning.

In all, a cleaner environment and a more stimulating job led to better executive functioning and better memory.

It makes sense that more complex jobs stimulate brain function but this study supports that a clean environment enhances your brain too. It might take a minute but it really is worth cleaning your workspace at the end of the day.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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