Micro-refresh to Restore Intellectual Concentration Decline During Office Work: An Attempt at Quantitative Effect Evaluation
Authors: Kakeru Kitayama, Orchida Dianita, Kimi Ueda, Hirotake Ishii, Hiroshi Shimoda, Fumiaki Obayashi
Abstract: There have been many studies on improving intellectual concentration. Concentration on intellectual work such as working in office tends to decrease over time, and this needs to be prevented in order to improve intellectual work efficiency. In conventional office work, for example, a 10-minute break was taken every hour. However, in this case, their concentration is gradually getting lower by the next break. There is a possibility of suppressing the decline in intellectual concentration by interspersing short breaks of a few seconds to a few tens of seconds and give environmental stimulus to improve their refresh in a shorter cycle. In this study, we named this break "micro-refresh" and aimed to show its effect on improving intellectual concentration by experiments, and then to study the environmental control method to introduce it appropriately in the actual working environment. The "micro-refresh" differs from the conventional "microbreak" in that it effectively encourages office workers to refresh themselves in a short period of time. In other words, this research aims to actively encourage office workers to refresh themselves through some kind of stimuli, such as controlling the office room environment.As a basis for this study, therefore, it should be firstly confirmed by an experiment that the effect of micro-refresh can be measured quantitatively. Especially, short breaks of a few seconds to tens of seconds were forcibly given to the experimental participants during the cognitive task, and the difference in intellectual concentration was confirmed using objective indicators.In this measurement, a comparison problem developed by Ueda et al1). was used as a cognitive task. As a simulated micro-refresh, an experimental system has been developed in which the screen changes to all gray after an arbitrary time has passed and the answer to the problem being solved at that time is completed. The interval between the screen changing was set to 7 minutes and 30 seconds, and the time until the changed screen returned to the task was set to 20 seconds. Three university faculty members performed a 25-minute cognitive task with and without the simulated micro-refresh. Their intellectual concentration was measured as an index, “CTR (Concentration Time Ratio)”1), which expresses concentration time ratio among total working time and was calculated from response time data of the cognitive task. As a result, all three participants had higher CTR when the simulated micro-refresh was given than those without it. Although this was just a preliminary experiment and the measurement was insufficient, it suggested that the effect of micro-refresh on intellectual concentration could be measured quantitatively and that micro-refresh might be effective in improving intellectual concentration.As a future prospect, controlled experiments with a larger number of participants to show the effect of micro-refresh should be conducted, and then environmental control methods that can appropriately introduce micro-refresh in actual work environments should be studied.1) Kimi Ueda, Hiroshi Shimoda, Hirotake Ishii, Fumiaki Obayashi, Kazuhiro Taniguchi: Development of a New Cognitive Task to Measure Intellectual Concentration Affected by Room Environment, The Fifth International Conference on Human-Environment System, 2016.
Keywords: Intellectual productivity, Office environment, Micro-refresh
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