Facts & Finds

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ff2Vegging out at work 

If you’ve ever spent a lot of time in a cubicle, chances are you have a finer appreciation for nature. It’s no joke! Studies show that people who work in windowless, drab places are much less satisfied and suffer more stress.

You can’t move into an executive office, but you can improve your mood with a stop at the greenhouse. Norwegian researchers found that students performed better on cognitive tests when surrounded by plants than at plain desks, with less fatigue.

Sources: Journal of Environmental Psychology, March 2011; Environmental Studies, August 2013

ff3Manufacturing firms need
educated workers

“Insourcing” is the new word in manufacturing, and for the first time in over a decade, the number of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. is actually increasing. No one is predicting a return to the heyday of assembly line jobs, but some manufacturers, especially those of expensive-to-ship heavy equipment and furniture, are building facilities and adding jobs in the U.S.

Most of the new manufacturing jobs are for skilled workers with two-year and four-year degrees who work in high-tech facilities.

James Manyika, a specialist in global high tech and director for McKinsey Global Institute, told TIME magazine,“Manufacturing is coming back, but it’s evolving into a very different type of animal than the one most people recognize today.”

Source:“Made in the U.S.A” April 22, 2013 time.com


The buzz of creativity

If creativity had a soundtrack, what would it be? One study suggests that it is probably the busy hum of activity, neither too loud nor too quiet. A 2012 study found that subjects asked to perform a creative task generated more and better ideas when sound levels were around 70 decibels, similar to the buzz of a café or restaurant. In contrast, quieter conditions, more like a library, produced fewer creative solutions, and louder conditions, more like a busy city street, also inhibited creativity.

Says lead researcher Ravi Mehta, Professor of Business Administration at the University of Illinois, “An increased level of distraction makes you think ‘out-of-the-box’ – what we call abstract thinking or abstract processing, which is a hallmark of increased creativity.”

He adds, “But when you start to go beyond that moderate level of noise, what happens is that distraction becomes so huge that it really starts affecting the thought process.”

Source: “Too much, too little noise turns off consumers, creativity,”
news.illinois. edu

ff4Choose your career adventure

Chances are your future career is something you’ve never even heard of before. In fact, 65 percent of school-aged children today will work in jobs that currently don’t exist. So how do you prepare for that? One answer is to choose an education that provides you with flexible, adaptable skills. Another answer is to learn about new job trends and ask questions of the people currently working in them.

That’s what TED-Ed Click Your Fortune is all about.

The short videos allow viewers to “meet” people in unusual careers, such as a sustainability expert, a documentary filmmaker, and an executive coach. In a sort of “choose your own adventure” format, each person will answer a handful of questions about him or herself and his or her jobs.

Find Click Your Fortune at ed.ted.com/series/click-your-fortune

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