Here’s an interesting piece of trivia. Researchers in Japan have discovered that people who have pictures of kittens and puppies on their desks are 10% more productive. Oh yes. Researchers at Hiroshima University split volunteers into three groups: the first group was given a picture of a kitten or puppy to put on their desks; the second group had a picture of an adult animal and the third group were given a photo of some tasty food. The work rate of the first group increased by 10%, the second group by 5% and the food group stayed the same. The researchers believe the emotion triggered by looking at a cuddly animal transfers into a more positive approach to work. Personally, I’d be interested to know whether pictures of family and loved ones on your desk makes you more productive. I wonder if anyone has studied the emotional wellbeing and productivity effects of having images of ‘life outside of work’ on your desk. Of course, office life has changed dramatically since I was a wet-behind-the-ears admin assistant in an insurance company in the eighties. When I started out, we had mainframe computer terminals, strip lighting, duplicated memo pads and smoking in the office. Now we have these incredible open plan layouts, coffee-shop collaboration spaces, optimised lighting and recycling bins on every corner. And we’re finding out more about office productivity every year, such as the wellbeing impact of pot plants! The kitten revelation may be trivial but it demonstrates the very fragile and malleable nature of human engagement and productivity. I love cats so I might try it out for a week.