Brain-Friendly Work Environments Can Counteract Burnout

In a new project, the Swedish Agency for Work Environment Expertise is compiling relevant research in the field of cognitive ergonomics. The purpose of this literature review is to raise awareness about factors associated with good cognitive ergonomics across various types of jobs and diverse tasks. Another goal is to describe the outcomes of different workplace interventions. The results can contribute to the development of systematic occupational health and safety efforts, enhancing cognitive ergonomics in workplaces.

The objective is to create working conditions that make it easier for us to think, analyse, maintain focus, learn, and make decisions. This can enhance our performance, safety, and well-being at work while reducing the risk of burnout, among other issues.

Marta Sousa-Ribeiro Larsson, the project leader, explains that good cognitive ergonomics is crucial in today’s work environment with increasingly complex tasks and heightened stress levels. She also envisions how the accumulated knowledge can become a practical resource for everyone involved in occupational health and safety work. It may also play a significant role in future research by helping identify knowledge gaps and needs, not only in Sweden but also within a Nordic context.

Marta further explains that it involves adapting tasks and technology to an individual’s cognitive resources to create a brain-friendly work environment. This approach reduces the overload on the brain’s cognitive functions, improves work capacity, promotes well-being, and prevents health issues and workplace accidents.

The results will be presented in a literature review around the turn of 2024–2025.

The researchers involved in the project are:

Cecilia Berlin, PhD, Associate Professor, Chalmers University of Technology,
Gisela Bäcklander, PhD, Researcher, Karolinska Institutet,
Peter Thorvald, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Skövde,
Pernilla Ulfvengren, PhD, University Lecturer, KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

Learn more about the Cognitive Ergonomics project (In Swedish)