Postdoctoral researcher So Yeon Park
So Yeon Park: “I was curious about the reason why I could be productive here working inside the house, but I was not in South Korea.” (Photo: Personal collection)

What environmental factors make you more productive while working from home? Postdoctoral researcher So Yeon Park aims to find out.

“It has been a year and four months since we moved here from South Korea. My husband got a postdoctoral position here at TU Delft last year in the Faculty of Applied Sciences. At that time, I had also just finished my PhD so I was kind of at a crossroads of whether to follow him here or stay in Korea with our son. But being together with family is the most important thing in my life so I decided to come here.

Luckily when we came here, I was able to work remotely as a postdoc at Korea University, where I had studied. But I really wanted to have an experience here as a researcher because TU Delft is a super university, especially in the field of architecture. Fortunately, I got a scholarship from the Korean Government so that’s how I got a position here for one year in the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment.

‘I’m in quite a hurry because I have only one year’

The project I am working on comes from my own experience. When I was still in Korea I had to work at home because of the pandemic, but it was not successful. I was not productive at all so I tried find other places to work like cafes or public libraries. But I struggled to find places. When I came here it was really different. I was curious about the reason why I could be productive here working inside the house, but I was not in South Korea. The total size of the houses is similar. I started thinking that maybe some environmental conditions around me while working from home are different and could affect my productivity or my attitude or other things. That’s why I started this project.

The first stage of the project has been conducting an online survey and I am almost done with that. There were 200 people from Korea and 150 people in the Netherlands that completed the survey. So now I will start to analyse the data. I would like to find out some important design elements from this survey and will then make an experimental environment using virtual reality (VR). Then I can change some designs in the VR environment to see how people react to these kinds of changes. My next step is conducting the VR experiments. I’m in quite a hurry because I have only one year and it’s like I have two different projects to complete. It is a lot of work but it’s good.”

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