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COGNITIVE ERGONOMICS

How people perform, make decisions, and respond to demands in the workplace is determined by job and work design. This affects how they interact with the environment, equipment, tools, systems, and each other. Design can shape performance.

The ViMind program examines cognitive and psychosocial factors at work; contemporary concerns that influence health, performance, and job satisfaction. Attention, perception, memory, decision-making, and logistical planning can improve with cognitive ergonomics. Mood, relationships, and psychological well-being can be enhanced. Also, there are economic and social impacts when work-related mental health is improved.

The ViMind program explores:

  • Decisions that are made from a range of choices and constraints that are shaped by work and job roles, and decision-making systems.
  • How work is conducted in the field in contrast to directives and governance. We look for gaps among how things “really get done” versus what is expected, instructed, documented, or disclosed. We investigate what is occurring within a  system to permit those different interpretations. These gaps represent opportunities for design improvement. 
  • The design of jobs: we investigate the levels of autonomy that exist so that workers have the “just-right” degree of decision-making and support to feel inspired and engaged. If work is too easy, it is boring, and if it is too complex, it can feel overwhelming. We want to understand work complexity (cognitively and emotionally) in relation to work capacity and what can be done to ensure that there is a good “fit” among these elements.
  • We look at the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a job. We examine the heuristics and decisions that people make. We investigate interpersonal and intrapersonal work demands, tactics, and situation awareness requirements.
  • Exposures to incivility, aggression, violence, or crime  can significantly contribute to worker distress and anxiety. Work system design can reduce these hazard exposures and support workers to form positive relations with customers, peers, suppliers, and managers. 
  • The neurological basis for design – we examine sensory thresholds and tolerances that help people perform at their best. Some people tolerate noise and distractions well and others need quiet for their concentrated work. There are those who need to walk, move, or fidget and others who want less activity. Some people work best in orderly and tidy areas, and others do not notice the visual distractions of layers of paperwork around them. Our findings consider the diverse sensory needs of users.
  • Retreat and restoration are necessary for good performance. We examine work systems and spaces or experiences that allow workers to rejuvenate and recharge so that critical work can be done effectively. Biophilic design is one strategy, for example (using natural elements in design).

Imagine the understanding that can arise if you get a chance to walk in someone else’s shoes and learn about what they do and why the do it? How people form ideas and make decisions help work designers understand the support that they need. 

  • Think-aloud methods, profiling, interviews, focus groups, and empathy mapping can inform the task and job analysis.
  • We examine naturalistic decision making, sense-making, planning, adaptation, and mental models.
  • We look at human interaction with products, tools, equipment, tasks, and systems.
  • We examine workloads and their perceived balance.
  • A sensory profile analysis can be examined.
  • Work climate surveys are commonly undertaken to understand the mood and morale of teams too.

The design of good work for congitive and psychological performance is sense-making; work makes sense, it is manageable, the workload is balanced, there is time and space for retreat, and the relations are positive. It can include:

  • Job and work re/design to support work performance and workload balance
  • Design for diversity strategies that help businesses enact their inclusivity policies by developing accessible work solutions for neuro-, culturally-, and  physically-diverse people
  • Distributed workforce management strategies to permit hybrid, agile, activity-based work
  • Establish environmental design strategies to support recovery and restoration at work
  • Product, task,  equipment, or system design concepts and strategies per human factors to improve interactions and performan

Realising good cognitive and psychological work involves ongoing evaluation, communication, training, and celebrating the rewarding design changes, while enhancing this with mind-body support. 

  • We examine the effects of a distributed work force
  • We can examine the workplace climate post-implementation of design for diversity strategies
  • We evaluate the efforts to reduce exposure to incivility, aggression, and violence
  • We can evaluate the implementation of immersive experiences to continually gain more from the technologies.
  • We facilitate learning or innovation teams
  • We provide training about neurological sensory “types” (sensory profiles: what they are and what the findings mean – we can assess you or your work team!)
  • We offer ViLearn (face to face and/or online modules): wellness, building resilience, meditation, relaxation, breath work, mindfulness, and special health topics of interest, such as positive thinking
  • We provide mind-body  services: yoga, relaxation, meditation, flexibility, Pilates, mindfulness, general fitness, and hands-on soft tissue management services

Have a question? Want to know more?

Antonovsky, A. (1979). Health, Stress and Coping. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass

British Standard: BS ISO 27500:2016. The human-centred organization — Rationale and general principles

Golembiewski, J. A. (2012). Salutogenic design: The neural basis for health promoting environments. World Health Design Scientific Review, 5(4), 62 – 68

HFESA (2020). Good Work Design: Position Paper. Australia: HFESA

Hollnagel, E., Leonhardt, J., Licu, T., & Shorrock, S. (2013). From Safety I to Safety II: A White Paper. Eurocontrol.

Hollnagel, E. (2012). Task Analysis: Why, What, and How. Part 3, Chapter 13. In Salvendy, G. (Ed.). Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics (4th ed.). (pp. 385 – 396). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons,ISBN: 978-0-470-52838-9

Horberry, T., J., Burgess-Limerick, R., & Steiner, L. J. (2011). Human Factors for the Design, Operation, and Maintenance of Mining Equipment. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

ISO. International Organization for Standardization (2016). Ergonomics principles in the design of work systems (ISO/DIS Standard No. 6385: 2016(E)).

Karanikas, N., Pazell, S., Wright, A., & Crawford, E. (2021). The What, why, and how of Good Work Design: The perspective of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia. In Rebelo, Francisco (Ed.). Advances in Ergonomics in Design: Proceedings of the AHFE 2021

Karanika-Murray, M., & Weyman, A. K. (2013). Optimising workplace interventions for health and well-being, In International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 2, (6), 104 – 117. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM11-2011-0024.

Antonovsky, A. (1979). Health, Stress and Coping. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass

British Standard: BS ISO 27500:2016. The human-centred organization — Rationale and general principles

Golembiewski, J. A. (2012). Salutogenic design: The neural basis for health promoting environments. World Health Design Scientific Review, 5(4), 62 – 68

HFESA (2020). Good Work Design: Position Paper. Australia: HFESA

Hollnagel, E., Leonhardt, J., Licu, T., & Shorrock, S. (2013). From Safety I to Safety II: A White Paper. Eurocontrol.

Hollnagel, E. (2012). Task Analysis: Why, What, and How. Part 3, Chapter 13. In Salvendy, G. (Ed.). Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics (4th ed.). (pp. 385 – 396). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons,ISBN: 978-0-470-52838-9

Horberry, T., J., Burgess-Limerick, R., & Steiner, L. J. (2011). Human Factors for the Design, Operation, and Maintenance of Mining Equipment. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

ISO. International Organization for Standardization (2016). Ergonomics principles in the design of work systems (ISO/DIS Standard No. 6385: 2016(E)).

Karanikas, N., Pazell, S., Wright, A., & Crawford, E. (2021). The What, why, and how of Good Work Design: The perspective of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia. In Rebelo, Francisco (Ed.). Advances in Ergonomics in Design: Proceedings of the AHFE 2021

Karanika-Murray, M., & Weyman, A. K. (2013). Optimising workplace interventions for health and well-being, In International Journal of Workplace Health Management, 2, (6), 104 – 117. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM11-2011-0024.