Spruce up your office: Unclean, dull workspace triggers cognitive decline

  • AFP, Chicago
  • Updated: Jun 20, 2016 09:35 IST
Our long-term cognitive health is affected by how clean and stimulating our working environment is, say researchers. (Shutterstock)

Those of you who do not pay heed to cleanliness at work, it’s time to take stock of your surroundings, for a new American study has found that working in an unclean and non-stimulating environment can have a negative effect on long-term cognitive health.

According to researchers from Florida State University, our long-term cognitive health is affected by how clean and stimulating our working environment is.

The study collected data on 4,963 adults aged between 32 and 84.

Read: Working shift jobs messes with brain, hampers cognitive skills

The study participants’ workplace was taken into account, as was their ability to process information and re-use it later on. The researchers considered the employees’ competency framework and their ability to carry out tasks, manage time and concentrate. They were also asked to recall past experiences.

The findings showed that the employees who learned new skills and undertook various challenges put in a better cognitive performance, particularly the women as they got older.

Read: Love your brain: Improve your memory with these 10 easy tips

The study also showed that the men and women with jobs that exposed them to an unclean working environment experienced greater cognitive decline. The researchers laid the blame with chemicals, mold and too much noise.

The researchers highlighted the importance of creating jobs which involve employees in the decision-making process. And although cognitive decline is a normal part of aging, cognitive function benefits from brain stimulation exercises over the long term, as well as a healthy environment that is regularly cleaned.

The study was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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